When the LA quarantine began, people stayed indoors and it affected the air immediately. The air became sweet and fresh, like mountain air. I won’t soon forget it, that feeling of each breath invigorating every cell in my being.
The absence of particulates in the air was noticeable while riding, while walking, while living. But you know where it was most amazing and beautiful? In the colors.
For a few days spring in Los Angeles was exploding with color intensity that I’ve never seen here, nothing even close. Flowers, trees, any and every living thing had a three-D hue that popped out in large colors so bright that it seemed everything had been painted and then repainted and then repainted again.
That’s life in Technicolor, when the junk has been swept away and we see real things as they really are, with real eyes. It is an infinity distant from everything fake, trumped up, photoshopped, miraged, curated …
Sometime last week I was standing on a wooded overlook. The sun was out and the sky was clear but the hues weren’t as bright. They weren’t muted but they no longer popped. The millions of cars now ambulating, slowly, on the streets and freeways were beginning to pull the veil back over the face. Today I stood on my balcony and saw the city enveloped in its familiar haze. Parking lots are filling up. Life is returning to abnormal.
Better put, life is now masked. People are venturing forth with a caution they didn’t used to have. The hospitals here never overflowed as they did in New York, but the brief moment of communion and cohesion is being replaced with the individualistic, self-preserving “me-first” that has always defined America in general and LA in especial. A guy called me an asshole yesterday for stopping my bike near a sidewalk that he felt didn’t give him adequate space … masked, gloved, and hatted though he was.
In a way people feel relief that they don’t have to live in Technicolor. All that intensity, all the time? To withstand it the person next to you would have to be your double, as if you were both part of a single wave as it oscillated from wave to particle and back again. Normal life as we’ve learned to lead it doesn’t suffer Technicolor anywhere except on the screen.
I’ve cycled four of the last five days and will probably ride today, too. It feels good to ride, and 50-75% full streets are still a welcome break from 100%. But 50%, even on its best day, still isn’t Technicolor.
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