« Midnight in Paris, jackhammers in Los Angeles | Main | Open Letter »

May 26, 2011

Riding on the metro of love

It's just after 7 a.m. and already the construction crew across the way is flinging slabs of broken concrete into a metal bin as a precursor to the symphony of jackhammering and drilling that will spring to life in twenty minutes. Aaaaand she's off...!

Yesterday I took the Red Line (metro.net, service daily) to visit my friend Jen N. downtown. I love hanging out with her, she tells the best stories (though I was so happy to see her I'm not sure I let her get a word in. Talk talk talk talk talk!) The subway is a decent and cheap way to get around the city of Los Angeles if you can accept the following three items:

1) The subway travels fairly regularly between point A and Union Station but if you need to go anywhere other than a straight trajectory you might be majestically screwed.

2) As the world's largest metropolitan transit system running entirely on the honor system, yes, in Los Angeles, honor system, you will encounter various characters from the streets who don't pay fares for many reasons, including: They are trailblazers, or practicing their crip walk, or panhandling, or don't want the aliens in the ticket machines to steal their souls, or just need a nice simple place to put all their bags of recycling while they scratch themselves with great attention and vigor.

3) There are almost never any police or patrolmen or officials or security of any kind. I once saw a man get on the train with a fully loaded, sloshing can of gas and I wanted to signal to someone but there was no one. There is almost never anyone anywhere. I got off the train and the doors closed and the man and his petrol went to Wilshire/Western. And we all lived another day.

4) If you have some of the lightly comedic forms of almost-socially-sanctioned OCD like moi, you too may enjoy the ease and simplicity of the subway but discover that when you arrive home you need to take a decontamination shower. Perhaps not a full Silkwood but at least a good solid scrubbing.

I'm just being real here, but don't let me put you off the subway. I used to ride it every day for years and aside from the high rates of men with IPS (Imaginary Package Syndrome), it's a genearally safe and efficient way to get around, linear style. The subway is ridiculously easy to use, there are automated ticket machines in every station. You can purchase a day pass ($6, valid for all local travel until 3 a.m. the following day) but if you're only going to and from a destination on a single rail line your best bet is a one-way paper ticket at $1.50. Timelines for the trains are posted on monitors on the platform. Be sure to check the digital signboard at the front of the train to be sure you're getting on the right train.

I like this picture of the red line platform, it came out moody and painterly with no effort at all on my part:


Later in the day I saw a girl at one of the stations wearing the cutest little purple knit hat. It's the same general shape/mood of the Noro Taiyo hat I'm making for my nephew but her hat was far more intricate and delicate and pretty. After staring at her for a bit and realizing I might be creepy what with my staring and all, I decided to talk to her. I don't talk to strangers. I don't even talk to people I know all that often, but such is the power of a cute knit hat. I told her I knit and then complimented her headgear and asked if I could take a picture and she said yes. Check it out:


Cute, no? I love the slouchy hipser vibe. She said she bought it in Venice Beach for ten bucks. I want to make something similar but less complicated (homie don't do lace) and I'm thinking a band of seed stitch would work really well for the bottom, then move into some stockinette. I'll let you know.

For today's flower porn section I present you with another picture of lantana close-up and in the blazing SoCal sunshine:


My mom asked me on the phone if that was a super close-up (it is) because she said it's hard to recognize that so out of scale. Good point. Below is what this flowering plant looks like when you're not zoomed in on it. I found a whole slope of nothing but brilliant, blooming flowers:


Finally, do you all remember my picture the other day of this beautiful white flower growing in a pile of crud in an alley?


Well, I got a pile of email from readers letting me know this is a "jimsonweed, also known as Datura, it's hallucinogenic and poisonous..." also with a lot of history about it being all sacred and awesome and lots of horticultural stuff which generally left me impressed with you knowledgeable flower types! I appreciate a person that has a love and detailed memory for something like flowers and I really enjoyed all the notes. Thank you!

I also loved that many of you were concerned for my safety and warned me not to eat this flower. I can promise you I will not eat it. And that brings me to my final Los Angeles Living Well Tip Of The Day! I may not know from flowers but I do know a thing or two about this city and what I have learned from living here is that if you see something beautiful -- gorgeous, unusual, lovely, sweet-talking, shiny, whatever -- in an alleyway in Hollywood, DO NOT TOUCH IT. Don't pick it up, don't let it talk to you, don't smell it, and for God's sake do not put it in your mouth.

This goes for all things animal, vegetable and mineral. It's a gospel to live by. I don't give advice very often but that's some wisdom you can take to the bank.

Posted by laurie at May 26, 2011 7:08 AM