Final Days of Fear and Loathing in the City of Angels

 —————–Day 4—————

I woke up and drove to the grocery store for something. I have trouble parking thanks to this asshat:
According to her chrome emblazonment, the size of her rims “matters,” but apparently the size of her shittily-parked SUV in a “compact” parking spot does not.

I forgot exactly what I went to the grocery store for, but after I had obtained it, I remembered one last thing I had meant to do in LA: the “Sunken City” ruins. I drove down to LA’s southmost tip, San Pedro.

According to the internet, it was accessible in the very corner of Point Fermin park. The park itself sat atop a bluff, directly on the coast. I stepped up to the edge and was taken by the inhospitable beauty. This was the coast I had been looking for. Just water meeting land, polar opposites in collision. No soft, sunny beach to soften the blow. The weather was dreary and overcast, and the landscape wore the mist well. It added a classy mystique to southern California’s normally clear and fully bared coastline. Like throwing a trenchcoat over a girl in a bikini.

These signs were placed all around the edges of the park:
I followed them until I found this one. I knew I was close.

After some investigation I found my point of entry: a well worn hole dug under the spiked fence.

At first things appeared dissapointing. All I saw was some old foundation outlines covered in shitty gang graffiti:
But I kept walking and found a road, and some mexican kids:
I followed it for a while, and soon the road dropped/broke off to a sheer cliff, which overlooked the promised land.

Apparently, back in the 20s or 30s, the coast just collapsed into the water – buildings, roads and all – and nobody did shit about it. The city just built a fence around it and made it illegal to go here. Now it’s a graffiti-covered wasteland the locals call “Sunken City.” Honestly I’m glad it’s illegal, because if wasn’t, there would be $20 guided tours and fanny packs abound, rather than graffiti and teenagers smoking pot.

The whole area is eerily prophetic. I can’t help but think that LA will look like this soon, whether by earthquake, or by the hand of a vengeful and angry god. The palm trees sprouted up from the disheveled slabs of pavement made for and excellent post-apocalyptic atmosphere. Mad Max goes to the beach.

There are quite a few pictures, and I didn’t know how to arrange them neatly on the page. If you click on one, it should bring up a gallery-like view that you can scroll through with the arrow keys.

view from the edge of the death road

descending into the wastes
near the bottom looking up at the edge of the road where i was standing in the first picture

finn and jake make an appearance

you can see the former path of the road particularly well here. legion of ghosts lie in wait for the sun to set.  

you can’t make it out in the pictures, but a lot of the ‘rocks’ on the beach are actually eroded pieces of buildings and sidewalks

a particularly nice run of  slabs. I had the urge to skateboard.

impressionist dinosaur graffiti? ya blew it.
death and elegance.
Afterwards I spent the remainder of the day preparing for my expedition to Sequoia National Forest. I planned on leaving in the morning, but found out I needed tire chains to get to the famed ‘Giant Forest’ grove during this snowy time of year. I needed to get there early in the day so I could set up camp with daylight to spare, and if I was going to try and find tire chains in the morning, I would be cutting it close. It appeared I would have to stay one more night. I was long overdue to blow town, but one more day in LA wouldn’t kill me, right?
—————Day 5—————-

After waking I was at a strange loss for what to do. There were things to do all around the city, but none of them sounded appealing. I drove aimlessly and found myself strangely able to navigate the hectic traffic. I stopped to eat and instinctively looked for parking several blocks before the restaurant.

“I think I’m getting used to Los Angeles,” I thought.

As soon as the thought crossed my mind I immediately panicked. I felt the Fear welling up in my chest and slowly closing my anxious thoughts into a circular loop. Have I become one of them? I realized I had been driving like an asshole most of the morning, only thinking of where I needed to go, and how fast. Just like everyone does in LA. But now I realized why: if you don’t, you’ll never get anywhere on time. In LA, there is no “journey,” only the destination. Actually, there’s a ton of “journey,” but it’s such a shitshow that everyone just wants it to be over with.

I had stumbled upon the dark Truth, and it was hitting me hard and all at once. People don’t choose to be self-absorbed assholes here. They have to be, in order to function in this place. It was happening to me, and shockingly fast. I’ve only been here a week. I thought I was safe; a neutral observer. No way. I was a fool to think I could set up camp in the middle of the raging war for humanity’s soul and emerge unscathed. I was trifling with the American Dream, and I had underestimated it. Suddenly I understood why so many slaves wander the streets here. Many before me had come the same way that I had, but stayed too long, adapted too well. Before long, the skills required to survive become the very shackles that keep people from leaving this place. The Heart of Darkness was revealing its blinding core revelation to me. I felt sick and naive. I was just like everyone else that comes here. The only thing that separated me from these people was the fact that I could still leave. But if I didn’t exercise that privilege soon, I would lose it, like everyone else. I had to get out, and soon.

This marks a ubiquitous pattern in my life. I have always been a seeker. Asking the questions you’re not supposed to ask, saying the things you’re not supposed to say. I have come to identify a distinct process that repeats itself over and over in my life. Here’s how I explained it to my sister some time ago when she asked me about acid and the Truth. I’m a bit ashamed to admit it’s a copy-and-paste transcript from Facebook, but when I put it here it reads a bit like poetry:

life is disney world
you’re a child
wandering around this incredible wonderland made especially for you
everything is beautiful and pretty inexplicable
so naturally you’re curious
you want to see more of this awesome stuff
in fact, you want to make sure you see ALL of it
because its so awesome
so you begin exploring
you ride the rides, play the games
it just keeps getting better
eventually you come to the “employees only” door
you wonder what’s behind it


but you can’t help but open it, because you wouldn’t want to miss out on even one bit of this incredible world
so you open it
and you see mickey mouse
and then he takes his head off
and its just a sweaty ass carny
working for minimum wage
and at that moment, innocence is lost
because now you know the truth
the truth that you searched so hard for
and you can’t ever forget it
The content is complex, but the Formula is simple: I seek the Truth, I find it, I run for my life. So now, it’s time to run. 
On the walk home, I see a very fitting and terrifying inscription over the doors of a church.
Goodbye, Los Angeles.

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