california dreamin’

by rantywoman

That was another thing about the East: the interlocking nature of society there, wrapped about itself like a grapevine. Whereas life in Los Angeles had the infinitely branching pattern of exploding fireworks– lines moving on a dark field, which never crossed, or crossed only by accident. In the East you had to go three thousand miles to disappear, but in L.A. you could do it by changing jobs and moving a few blocks. The way people treated each other there seemed to imply this: there was something anonymous, after all, about it.

Seeing the people he knew in Cambridge again, Paul realized that most of his relationships in Los Angeles, for instance with Fred Skinner, were comparatively shallow, acquaintances of convenience…


The basic thing about L.A…. was that it lacked the dimension of time… there were no seasons there, no days of the week, no night and day; beyond that, there was (or was supposed to be) no youth and age.

Alison Lurie, The Nowhere City, pp. 266-267

And, of course, when you leave L.A., it’s a little bit like at the end of the book where Paul is on this plane and going back East. The last line is something like Los Angeles disappears into a smog bowl. It’s just gone for him, and he is certainly no longer there for people he knew. They will have forgotten him too.