Thursday, February 21, 2008

Things I Love About My City

or, The best view in Los Angeles

looking out towards santa monica at sunset, from Hollywood

I didn't know we were having a lunar eclipse last night until I got out of work and rode the elevator up to my car on the 8th level of the Grove's parking structure.

"Huh. Moon looks weird." I thought to myself. I was tired, I was hurting, I just wanted dinner, so I took a moment to appreciate the view, got in my car and didn't think another thing of it.

I didn't know we were having an eclipse until I stopped for the light at Fairfax and Venice a few minutes later, looked up and realized the shadow had grown to cover almost all the moon.

"Huh. We're having a lunar eclipse. Go figure. " I thought to myself. Naturally every blog in my feeds list was all "OMGlunarECLIPSEcool!!!!1!1!eleventy!!1!" later that night.

Living under a rock, party of ONE. Thank you.

It was a pleasant surprise and a little reminder that magic creeps up on you sometimes when you don't expect it. That the natural world is still a mystery and still has the power to affect people profoundly. My attention was briefly captured, enchanted by the changing moon, and then the changing lights dictated that I had to drive in the wrong direction to watch it any further. But I knew that the mystery was still unfolding behind me in the sky, and I smiled to myself the rest of the way home about it.

The eclipse that I didn't realize was happening was gorgeous there at the top of the parking structure at The Grove. That is one of the most magical locations in all of Los Angeles, by the way, if you've never seen it.

First off, I love it because only one time in my entire year and a half of working at The Grove, has that floor ever been "full" with no parking spaces. You can always find a parking spot on the roof at The Grove. Always. They close off the roof during the week most of the time so you have to have a pass card to park up there. It's empty and safe. I love it. The public usually only gets up there on weekends and Fridays. Otherwise? It's ours.

That really isn't the main reason why I love the roof of that particular parking structure though. The main reason I love it is... the view. It is hands down, probably the best view in Los Angeles. On a clear night, you can see 360 degrees all around. From downtown and Dodger Stadium to the east and Century City to the west, the hills in the north and Park La Brea popping up just to the south, with all the city laid out like a jewel box all around - you cannot beat that view. On the 8th floor of The Grove parking structure, the noise of the city falls away and there is instead a hush. The sounds of traffic and people are muted to almost nothing, maybe a vague hissing like the ocean when it is very very quiet. You're in your own private world up there.

I call it the deep breath at the end of my day.

I wrote this to a friend a few months ago, trying to explain how important that moment is to me, the moment where I step off the elevator. Before I walk to my little car and get in to drive home. The moment where I just stand on the roof and breathe and let 8 hours of retail slide off my shoulders and come back into myself, not me the shopgirl, not the smiling persona I wear in the store, but just... myself. It is my favorite moment of the day, in my favorite spot in Los Angeles, and lucky me, I get to do it a couple of times a week. It never gets old.

"When I step up onto the roof of the carpark, I am surrounded by light. It is high enough that the noise and stink of the city are filtered away, fall down, there is nothing but clarity, silence and the shiny jewelbox that is my city at night. I can see to the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other sides. The buildings glitter all 'round. I take a deep breath and that is when I exist. It's the moment where it all falls away, there at the end of my day. I step between the worlds and come back to myself again."

I love My City. And it somehow doesn't shock me that one of the most magical, beautiful places to appreciate this city, with our love of the automobile and all things new, shiny and for sale, would be.... at the top of a parking structure in the middle of a shopping center.

Somehow, it fits.

3 comments:

Christie said...

I was there last night and I didn't even think to check out the eclipse from the roof! Oh bummer. I will have to go up there next time I'm over!

Jill said...

Well, you weren't alone... I too didn't realize there was an eclipse until I saw the moon and thought it looked a bit different than usual. Funny thing, I was in you're area too. I was driving to a gig at Molly Malone's at Fairfax and 6th. (I play oboe and flute in a little rock band and we have a residency there this month.) Watching the eclipse made the somewhat stressful commute to mid-town interesting and magical. --Jill P.

Roxie said...

What a splendid, enchanting love letter to a building. Next time we have to go to LA, I'm going to lobby for a trip to The Grove parking structure. (If it's not raining or smogged in or something.)