On the Train 17 – Los Angeles

San Bernardino, CA
2/23/2011

Morning Arrival

I feel a cold coming on. The lack of sleep, water, and nutrition is catching up with me. The last couple weeks have kept my body in a state of fast-moving culture shock, and at last, I’m starting to crack under the pressure. Maybe it’s the air. I was told by a couple people on the train that LA’s pollution can make people sick. It didn’t take long for the microbial bacteria to find another sucker to infect. I felt it give me a sore throat. I tried drinking lots of water while I was on the Metrolink to San Bernardino, but I was distracted by the need to capture the sights I saw. It was not always pleasant to see the transformation.

View from the Metrolink

Mountainous valleys are surrounded by wispy clouds. Lots are full of disassembled cars, parts, steel girders and rusting industrial leftovers. There are graveyards full of junk. Neighborhoods without end are full of track homes and swimming pools. Some of them are crystal clean, and others are murky, green, or bone dry. A lot of good and bad graffiti decorate the walls surrounding these track home neighborhoods. A small playground sandlot is in the middle of a dangerous area. A storage lot the size of several football fields holds a closet full of someone’s life. So monotonous.

A patio table and umbrella rest between two cars in a warehouse parking lot… A Zen rock garden rests next to basketball courts, next to an outdoor hockey rink, next to tennis courts, next to an open field, next to a parking lot, next to a gas station, next to a gentlemen’s club… A man stands around a barrel bonfire, under a tree, surrounded by children’s toys. A junkyard has a special hanger meant solely for car bumpers. A few first-generation trees remain in an empty plot of land. A dead bird cooks on the ceramic tiles of a Spanish shingle roof. I can stare at the sun because the clouds cover it just enough to look like a full moon in a clear night sky.