And sometimes, on Sunday morning, after the gym, I go to the Farmer’s Market on Ventura Place, in Studio City, where I eat a Blue Corn Tamale with Salsa, walk around, and observe and pronounce judgment on strangers who look familiar but whom I’ve never met.
At the eastern end, near Radford, animals and children’s amusements are crowded into the street, under the mirrored façade of an office building reflecting light onto juvenile encampments of goats, chickens, rabbits and ponies. A large, inflated trampoline hums with laughter and an electric generator. A little Choo-Choo train carries parents and their popcorn-munching progeny around an improvised track.
There are fathers and mothers of all ages, and they all seem to have children between 1-5 years of age. Observing these parents, one sees education and ambition on lined faces, framed in semi-silver hair, who once came young to Hollywood, in search of work that could be prosperous and creative but found instead: exhaustion, humiliation, and defeat.
These are not the round bellied, 40-year-old men in suburban Chicago or Houston. They are basically trim, stubble faced, capped in baseball and wearing the team hats of the TV shows they once worked on five years ago. There is not a 40-year-old who dresses older than 25, and for that matter, there are barely any real 25-year-olds here. Perhaps they are sleeping off hangovers.
These aging crowds, in a street performance which could be entitled, “Facade of Youth” are like plastic and paper, to be constantly remade in the liberal precincts of Los Angeles. Their careers and lives, ever recyclable, will be trashed or used again depending on the whim of employer or lover.
I would like to come here to take pictures, holding my new Nikon d3100 DSLR with the interchangeable lens, but I dare not. A real camera is a real threat to this crowd. It is legal to photograph anyone, including a minor, in a public place, but the new custom, adopted by those whose individual lives might turn up 8,000 entries a piece on Google, is to deplore photographers.
Once, 30 or more years ago, an unlisted telephone number was enough to insure privacy. But today, Zabasearch and BlockShopper would probably uncover the age and home addresses of most anyone walking down Ventura Place with their environmentally correct canvas bag full of organic mushrooms and Meyer Lemons.
There is communal kindness and sartorial casualness on parade at the Studio City Farmer’s Market. It seems that people run into each other and exchange stories about what day care or diet their children are on. With sunlight and warmth bathing the fruits and vegetables, sellers and buyers, one feels marinated in the ideal recipe of life in the Golden State; a cornucopia of the imagined happy life….
But later on today, the market folds, the crowds disperse and the stands go away.
And the cars–speeding, honking and texting– will return and another week of busy unemployment will consume the lives of those who walked and shopped here on Sunday morning.