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. At the other end, in San Gabriel Valley, beige strip malls, a typically Southern Californian element, look and feel somewhat different. It's the signages (exclusively) in Chinese and the shock from being temporarily illiterate. 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 a good 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 have been redrawn; some areas are left behind, while others are never left alone. Navigating through this unruly land is a 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.