She Is Not Dead

It’s a  stunningly beautiful day here in Hollywood, the kind of day people see in the movies and then dream about for the rest of their lives. The sky has been scrubbed clean by the heavy rains we had over the weekend, and the air is crisp with the scent of spring. A riot of pink and purple flowers explodes from the upper balcony of the secret spot Mr. Koz and I occasionally sneak off to for a romantic date while the Kozlet is still at school. This afternoon I’m by myself at a table across the street, enjoying another glorious piece of sky; today it is a triangle of brilliant blue and white framed by the clean lines of 1920’s architecture, the edge of my cafe umbrella, and a stately palm tree, fronds shivering slightly in the cool breeze laced with a few errant raindrops hinting that the storm may not quite be over yet.

It’s only the second time I’ve been out with the netbook that Mr. Koz gave me as a birthday present, specifically so I could get back into blogging.  March was birthday month here in Kozland, and we all celebrated well and long in true Pisces fashion. But I had forgotten that this blog was also born in the month of Pisces. So much can happen in a year!

A great triumph for my town since I started writing about it has been the removal of most of the megagraphics which were choking off so much beautiful architecture. It was a revelation one morning to look up and see the biggest old art deco building in my neighborhood, denuded at last of all that garish advertising, rising up naked and elegant like Venus from the sea.  The next time I hiked with my family up to the Griffith Observatory I looked through the telescope for that newly revealed landmark. Beyond the vast human sprawl a silvery glow emanated like a halo from behind the last row of buildings on the city’s horizon. The ocean, once visible from the hills, now hidden from view,  but always present in the light and air that give this place its magic.

In the cafe are several other people with laptops. I feel like an impostor blending in with my new device, even though before I had felt self-conscious being the only person in the place still using a notebook and pen. Where does this sense of strangeness come from? Am I really any different from the people around me? Who can say. It’s the first time in several weeks that no one is talking about some awful catastrophe that has befallen some other place in the world. We’re all tremendously lucky to be here on this fine day.

One customer approaches another with hearty greetings, only to be rebuffed: “I’m rehearsing right now.” Both men return muttering to their computers. A group of young women with identical haircuts, nose rings, logo shirts, and jeans so tight they could have been spray-painted on cluster at the counter, nervously fingering their razor-cut bangs and adjusting their too-tight undergarments as they confer in whispers, trying to make sense of the vast menu chalked up on the wall. A woman wearing a stylish black minidress crosses the street in her designer stilettos, turning her immaculately coiffed head to avoid making eye contact with the ragged bum who has stopped on the corner to rummage through his shopping cart. Two model-perfect blondes in outfits designed to reveal the Brazilian wax jobs on their tanned, taut bellies stop outside the door to finish their cigarettes, throwing the butts disdainfully into the street before slouching inside, just as a straight-backed older woman in a tailored leopard-print dress hurries past, hugging a bolt of bright blue chiffon, its selvages waving desperately at me as she rushes by.

And then, miraculously, everyone is gone. The cafe is empty.  Even the traffic has died down. It’s suddenly so quiet I can hear the tinkling of a wind chime floating across the breeze.  I am all alone with my coffee cup and the long shadows of the palm trees moving slowly across the wall. 

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