Thick, multilane freeways bridge the neighborhoods that used to be one great expanse of arid wilderness. Inglewood, a black enclave with middle class pride, sits on the west end of I-10. A stream of traffic travels eastward to San Gabriel Valley. Like everywhere else in Southern California, beige strip malls are the predominant style of architecture, but here, they speak another language. Chinese characters, bright piquant red, are all but a blur to those who don't belong. Epitomized by these growing ethnoburbs, the city of Los Angeles boasts a variegated palette of groups and subgroups. Often strange partnerships are born of shared desire—make money, live life—between groups that seem so far apart from each other. LA might seem like it's been put together by million hands with no head, but the jenga-esque squelette holds up, surprisingly well. 


The birth of the city remains a myth. There are not that many records of its infancy. It grew, without supervision, in every direction. Its extraordinary metabolism led to a growth so rapid that no system of order could catch up to it. Boundaries shift; elements are demolished and reconstructed; some areas are too easily forgotten, while others are never left alone.  Navigating through this unruly land is a real challenge. Hence, the metallic prostheses we don every day, just to be where we need to be.

Look around, and you’ll see where we wash them, fuel them, and store them overnight. They are precious. They sustain lives; they sustain the city. 


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