Along for the Ride

What it's like - In transit through L.A.

In the same moment a wave of familiarity washes over me here alongside the L.A. River. As the street lamps and billboards and taillights fade into the darkness I slip away from the Los Angeles I know, jostled into a new awareness by the thought of the path I am threading through the urban fabric.

I find myself all over the world. Now I am headed toward downtown Portland, Maine aboard the #6 bus, gazing at the B&M Baked Beansfactory standing starkly against the gray skies and grayer waters of the Casco Bay. A moment later I find myself on Portland Oregon'sMAX, where I see a net of concrete and steel and iron bridges crossing the same Willamette River I ride above. Then my thoughts shift and I cross the Rhine, I cross borders and history on the bus from France's Strasbourg to Germany's Kehl to buy Turkish Doner Kebab and American peanut butter. I find myself back in Strasbourg, listening to Tunisians and Moroccans joking in the center of Le Tram, the wide steel tube they ride day and night from the banlieuesof Meinau and Neudorf and Elsau toward the broad Place Kleber at Strasbourg's heart.

Familiar memories vector across my neural network, stitched together to form my life, as has begun to happen here, where I left my car at home, here, in L.A., the supposed Eden of automobiles.