Back in the distant summers growing up L.A. with Garvey-Lopes-Russell-Cey and 93 KHJ, long before subways and the RTD turned MTA, and there was a newspaper known as the Herald Examiner with paperboys such as myself to deliver her around the way, there was also the dreaded Stage One day. Filled with lung-seizing, throat-choking, eye-burning, cough-inducing smog that reduced us to perhaps quarter air capacity by the end of it.
But with the pain also came the awe-inducing side-effect of all that incapacitating airborne carcinogenia: the mid-city sunsets. And on particularly particulated dog days before my grade level hit double digits I would finish my route at the old The Akron (ancient ancestor to Pier One and Cost Plus) on Melrose near Western and join up on the tall wall in the back of the parking lot with my paperboy buddy Salvador from El Salvador who had a free-form afro he could hide just about anything in — including the joints we’d smoke while staring stoned up wide-eyed and unblinking at the late-afternoon sun that had a hard time shining through, not at all unlike this afternoon’s that I snapped at 7:53 p.m. over Silver Lake sneaking outta sight for the night thankfully not behind smog so much as the far more organic moisture vapor haze hemmed in by the high pressure holding things down.
I thanked her for the memories before she got away.