Transition Roads

I WAS just thinking the other morning — because there was loads enough time for it — about this old canard: For many Angelenos, the city-proper passes by in a blur; we don’t really get to see our city because we’re speeding through it, raised above it, on freeways. That used to be true — or truer — but lately, as I’ve been inching along in the mornings during a commute that has protracted from 30 minutes to sometimes two hours, I’ve begun to realize that now on the region’s various interstates, highways and parkways we move much slower than we do if we were walking.All manner of strange features come into view — discarded clothes hang like limp bodies from overpasses; razor-wire winds intricately around freeway signs blocking late-night tagger’s pursuits. Along the roadside rise faded murals and piles discarded furniture and of course shoes. And too, a smattering of hidden living quarters. Even the concrete on the more venerable freeways features intricate patterned carvings. None of this you’d see by foot or if the freeway flowed at its normal wild-rapids rate, at the speed of escape. So, now I’m eager to track freeway debris, the flotsam of the road.

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