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Christmas in LA

Instead of six weeks in Chile, I'm spending three weeks in LA. Also, for I think the first time ever, I'm all alone on Christmas Day. This isn't a tragedy: for family reasons, my hosts celebrated Christmas up to three times already (including stocking morning) and have scattered for a fourth time elsewhere, leaving me holding down the fort. It was surprisingly lonely the evening they left -- I live alone normally, but I guess the contrast got to me -- but I've adapted back to the joys of sleeping in and other things you can do alone.

I went for a long walk today -- I think it's only twenty minutes to a spot where you can see the downtowns of Glendale, LA, and Burbank -- and I note that Glendale on Christmas is a lot less dead than Cambridge on Thanksgiving. I can't tell if it's similarly *relatively* dead, compared to normality, but even on obscure residential roads there was a fair bit of continuous traffic. Though I guess I can tell that Brand, the main commercial street, was probably deader than I'd guess even a Sunday would be.

Walgreen's was open, and there's a couple things I wanted. At first I was going to wait until tomorrow, so as not to reward them making people work on a holiday, then I thought that they sell medical stuff so have an excuse, and the stuff I wanted is loosely medical, though not urgent. As it happens, their pharmacy is not open, nixing that excuse, and the checkout girl said she's not being paid extra -- sounded like you have to work there a year to get overtime on a holiday. I'm pretty sure the girls at Trader Joe's have said they get overtime just for working Sundays. Walgreen's also seemed pretty busy, both from what I could see and what she said.

Lots of neat house styles, more diverse, or at least different, than in Cambridge. But everyone having a yard has an unfortunate knock-on effect: there are no public parks or spaces with benches, not like the ubiquitous playgrounds and parklets of Camberville and Boston. I sorely noted the lack after an hour in the hills.

Seeing all the cars somehow reminded me of a bright guy in high school making an observation about car colors. I think he'd noted a shortage of yellow or orange cars; anyway, I remember that making me count cars in dealer lots years ago, and IIRC finding that white > black > red >> anything else. (That's lumping various grays and silvers in with white and black.) Here, the grayscale spectrum seems overwhelming, with white leading; I don't think there was a single hue in the Walgreen's parking lot. I do wonder if white or silver are usefully reflective while parked in sunlight, or if the car soaks up lots of heat anyway.

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Damien Sullivan

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August 2018


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