This came into my mind recently:
When viewed from the sky, the sprawling neighborhoods that make Los Angeles are a series of small grids, linked by freeways and divided by boulevards into larger grids. When you fly into Los Angeles at night, it's like looking at a circuit board, traffic flowing along the freeways in streaks and dots of white and red, and along boulevards lined by the amber glow of streetlights. Bits and bytes of data move from node to node with the type of inefficiency that can only be born of bureaucratic planning that spans decades.
The Magic is everywhere, and everyone can see it, but nobody can actually see it for what it is. They talk about it like it's something wonderful: the Hollywood sign, the Ferris wheel at Santa Monica Pier, the shiny towering buildings in Downtown and Century City that turn into pillars of fire every day in the setting sun.
But some of us know what it really is. We can smell it, we can feel it, we can hear it like the droning of a far-off diesel locomotive. The Magic, fueled by the dreams that die here and stay trapped in the basin like smog, hides this city's true face.
The most concentrated Magic is in Hollywood, where the most powerful Dream Magic has been crushed underfoot and ground into the streets themselves to make them sparkle, a trap to lure in ever more dreamers, to feed the Beast that lurks just beyond their perception.
A big part of living in LA is hating living in LA, and talking about hating living in LA. That's not without reason: it's expensive, it's overpopulated, it has the worst transportation infrastructure in the fucking world, and it often feels like most of the people you meet here came from somewhere else on their way to Something Better, so nobody cares about making LA suck less.
But a city that can inspire me to see it as a Gibsoneqsue TechnoRetroCyberFutureSprawl in one moment and then as a living, scheming, hungry ancient Beast in the next can't be all that bad.
…or maybe it just wants me to believe that.