Gold Line Los Angeles

Notes from the Gold Line.

The three men seated nearest to me on the Gold Line are variations of the same person; gaunt, weather-beaten and of indeterminate age. All have baseball caps and small grubby packs.

A couple of young guys are at the front of the car, wearing the same kind of caps. One has the brim reversed for variation. They both have ear buds jammed in, and their heads bob. They stare at the devices in their cupped palms, as if holding living creatures.

At Lake Station two girls in matching orange outfits get on. They speak streams of run - on sentences, augmented with texts -- or images that they flash each other from their phones.  One dramatically repeats the phrase; "I'm serious".

"Looking Out, Not Down."

My attention turns again to the young men. They're slouched in the metal seats that are not designed for anyone to sit comfortably in. Cords dangle from their ears like fibrous growths. They look down -- rather than out. They could be kids anywhere in the world with their posture and ubiquitous technology. Plugged-in -- the cliche of their generation. The phrase  "self -contained" also comes to mind. Cell phone, Ipods, lap top in a travel case -- and good to go. 

Of course I have all that stuff too, but gadgets don't imbue me with the sense of speed, ease and mastery of life projected by the cyber- generation. I don't feel particularly empowered. Maybe they don't either. Who knows what they think? It's probably fundamentally the same for us all. Be it a Smart Phone or shabby pack; we hold them in desperate grips, like talismans.

 I've always loved looking out windows. Windows in motion are even better. Life's right there. Does anybody notice that? What details will they remember for their memoirs? Are memoirs even necessary for humans living real - time - online reality shows? Past actions looping in perpetuity. Data awaiting harvest.

"Windows In Motion."

At Del Mar Station one of the "old" guys disembarks; he morphs into a bleached out phantom in the August sun. Have I just written his memoir by the simple act of noting his existence?  Or is he  noting;  "a man of indeterminate age wearing a fedora and  holding a camera on the Gold Line." that he will later add to the monumental "History of Everything" that he's secretly writing,  that only he will ever read? 
I wonder if  those cheerleaders carelessly taking snapshots of themselves with their phones, inadvertently caught me and later will discover a stranger's face haunting their personal photos. 

I exit at Hollywood and Vine. Emerging at street level,  I switch my wallet to breast pocket for security; clutch camera to my gut -- and I'm good to go.


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