Dear Mariah and Sarah,
The night I got into Glendale I met some friendly people like the kids hanging around outside this bar or something (maybe not quite a bar because they did not look older than 18) who said hi to me in a way that felt friendly and welcoming especially after that experience crossing the Hollywood Hills. And that girl who, just as I started playing Ocean Eyes out loud on my phone because I *thought* I was almost at my hotel, trusted me to close the trunk of their car. She thanked me and I told her she was welcome. She made some kind of kind of comment in a tone I can’t think of a word to drscribe right now about how nice it was to be able to trust someone. I keep wanting to describe her tone though because she did not say it like, “Aww, you’re sweet, thank you, it’s nice to be able to trust someone.” It was more a simultaneously kind, sarcastic, and indignant statement probably meant for me to hear but also directed at… well, I wasn’t really sure, but it was more like, “wow, well, it’s nice to actually be able to trust someone with something like that!!!” in a way that made me feel affirmed as a good person in the first time since… maybe Mexico.
I read so much into those few words and I can’t help doing that though I don’t know why. I felt somehow like she was making a comment about Glendale or that part of Glendale not necessarily being a safe neighbourhood in certain ways. It must have been in the way she said it because up till that moment I assumed Glendale was going to be (as Wikipedia says it is) a safe place with no need at all to worry about the sort of intimidation I experienced in downtown LA.
At the very least I had a sense like there are troublemakers around and you have to watch your stuff, can’t trust people to do little things like shut the trunk if your car for you without fearing they might take sonething out of it or whatever. I started thinking about all those bad vibes at Griffith Park earlier in the day. I do not know if it is typical but sooo many people were gathered around the Griffith Park Observatory (though strangely I only saw a handful of people crossing the hills, all of them walking towards Griffith Park). No one passed me on that hike, it is strange, they were all headed towards the observatory. The trails through the hills start right by the observatory so the lack of foot traffic and the fact thay they werecall going the other way felt peculiar. I had a sense that at least some of the people there were politically right wing and up to no good and after hearing this girl’s comment I had this thought like maybe she said this because tonight was the night all the bad guys had gone to Griffith Park so everyone could at least for one night be more free and relaxed in Glendale? I do not know but it is a supersition at least that resonates somehow.
I was in a situation where vehicles were feeling more and more dangerous and even if a cab or Lyft would come to me, I did not feel safe getting in a vehicle with a stranger in any way at all. So I walked everywhere, even after I got to Glendale, and maybe I technically could have called for a ride, but my intuition just screamed NO. My feet had never hurt so much in my life but the only one I could trust was myself. Her comment felt philosophically and personally relevant: how can we re-invent society so we can simply trust each other to do something so simple as help us out with the trunk out our car? Imagine all the resources that would be freed up if we SIMPLY no longer had to worry about troublemakers who violate other people’s property and other people’s spaces! Her sarcasm carried philosophical undertones for me: what if it could be this way all the time? And I was sooooo close to believing it could be, that the world could change in this little, tiny way, which would be everything…
I thought at this point I only had a few steps to go but… then the design of streets got me stuck or something because I was a pedestrian and I had never seen a less pedestrian infrustructure in my whole entire life. So many times I got trapped because I was on foot and there was a gate or something that blocked access to a street that should have been perfectly accessible but they assume you have a car. I finally figured out my way to the other side of this and that is where I see these kids outside a place like people hang outside bars (but like I said they seemed too young for it to be a bar). I feel and felt like I heard someone around this time say something like “damn car culture!” because I heard it so vehemently in my mind… it might have been catalyzed by this comment as I shut her car door.
I thought I was finally almost there, Mariah, I mean, at this hotel that ended up trying to bar me from my room and tell me I was not a guest, but the truth is, on this night, Glendale was friendly! If I did not feel that I do not think I would have survived what came next: rows and rows of every kind of car dealership imaginable, Mariah, that I had to walk past with these blistered feet that cut like knives, and now legs, too, that were screaming in pain. I cannot even begin to explain how this felt, how indignant and horrified I was, at all the evils and of car culture, and to feel it with every step, Mariah… I probably kind of vowed to never a car again. I was on a mission because car culture makes people sooooo vulnerable for so many and… ouch, this was life being emotionally abusive, and… I am crying and I think I will never know what yo do with this in my life except share it with you.
I am feeling all these car dealerships cutting my heart like knives and then… I hardly have the courage to speak it… there was one that… Mariah… I need to hit something like at that place, scream, I don’t know what to do with it. I want to say ‘I feel like’ this is what is going on but my intuition says I know it is and all the parts if me are at war. If anybody tried to gaslight my perceptions about this I would rage! I am not going to say ‘I think’ and I will just alologize if my radar is off and something less pernicious is going on, but… after passing so many car dealerships on foot in pain… one of them appropriated her name, Mariah, it disgusted me, I am crying. So for the SECOND time that day (the first was in Hollywood) I raged with body language and pulled my middle finger on the dealership and car culture and abuse and all of this crap.
You know how Plato talks about putting in an invisible ring and using it to get away with doing wrong? This feels like a good example of that and itvwould be so easy for someone to convince me I am out if my mind. Thank goodness for John Stilgoe and the allreciation he gave me of visual literacy: they can gaslight me, my own psyche can gaslight me (and actually really is), and tell me I need to go back to Dr. Calica because my perceptions are messed up and I’m not seeing what I’m seeing. It is clear as fizzy lifting drinks, though Sarah, though so mych more painful than that fan could ever be: THEY STOLE HER NAME, MARIAH. 🙁
This place called Ellis Ford. THEY were the dealership, out if the millions I walked past in misery, that should have a little divided highway next to its name, like Ellis // except that I swear the logo was designed sothat divided highway had a line through it that looked like an H and I can’t imagine the equivalent of feeling so used and abused as severely and deeply through a logo appropriating my name in my own hometown. I can’t think if an equivalent because this hurts so much more than anything like that ever could.
It is so weird philosophically, like what are the ethics of me saying this, if there is a possibility there was some kind of deal and they are using her name with her consent under some kind of contract or something? I would feel horrible! But itvtears me up inside in every way, as I hope you might be able to inagine!
If I speak out against a car company she has some kind of business with I would be hurting my ‘friend’ and that feels like HELL ITSELF! but every intuition and cell in my being tells me this *is* intentional, malicious, greedy, and the perfect example of Plato’s invisible ring. How could you make ANY case against a car company simply for putting a divided highway image next to their company name? And yet you can not NOT see it, Mariah, Sarah, you can’t, it’s there, and it feels like a violation of my entire being, but what am I to do? I can’t untangle it and this logo has me in tangles! I am *hoping* they have more than one location in more geographies because the more Ellis Fords there are the less pernicious it is (unless they only use that divided highway logo in Glendale, in which case that becomes more fishy) but worst of all is if they are a single location car dealership?
I just don’t get why I am seeing what I am seeing, I have no way at all to begin to process it: my own psyche is startng a war with itself over it. It feels like an example of an ethical dilemma that should maybe become as viral as the brain in a vat in philosophical circles: like, how is this not the perfect case study of an ethical and/or legal dilemma: a coompany uses an invisible ring (a la Plato) to get way with what soneone in that company for sure knows is an attempt to steal her name.
If you were to make a legal case they would laugh, they would tell you that all that is happening is a car company putting a couple of roads next to their name and this could be a textbook case because of how much of an absurdly simply open shut case this seems to be: a car company phtting roads next to their name. Your gut tells you something else, you know they did it because they could get away with it because you can’t prove or even say that their logo feels so icky. It feels like they’re messing with your mind and your perceptions after going through such a horrendous ordeal as this! It us absurd, it feels so viscerally uggggh, and yet… invisible ring. I think I kind of sensed that at the time and vowed to strike the roots of ‘car culture’ itself and everything thsy goes with it. Glendale even had a ‘Carr Park’ (an actual park) and honestly I don’t remember if I actually saw this but there is a good chance it happened because there were a lot of places like this: you get to an intersection where the *library* is and that is the side that doesn’t have a crosswalk or signal.
Maybe it’s just that I experienced Glendale on foot in these conditions but to me it felt like the car dealership capital of the galaxy. If I were to write a book or movie inspired by Glendale it might resemble Stephen King (not his face, his style, and it would no doubt be a gothic thriller) it would be about a strange town that goes back and forth between times when it is safe to ask a stranger walking down the street (and playing Ocean Eyes) if they would shut your trunk for you, and times when the town seems to be run by White Supremacist Car Lords who in fact gave taken over the hospital too…
Oh, finally, before showing up at that Xilo Hotel, I got to the other side of Dealership Hell, and there was a smoothie shop just open!!! They were really nice and had this smoothie out already made that I seem to remember them giving to me for a deal, for like $4 or something, oh, my feet were a mess, but it was sooo nice to finally sit down! I went to use the bathroom and because I was so thirsty honestly I was dying to drink water from the faucet but before I even got in there I think he asked me if I wanted a water to go. I said yes and he gave me a can of Coke too. Drinking it, as I tried to make the last blocks to the hotel without collapsing, and this is weird: I have all these experiences of my food being poisoned, right?
Please don’t call me crazy but when I got to that hotel I was in some of the most excruciating pain of my life: I felt like my legs had totally worn out shock absorbers and were about to crumble and I could not walk on the bottoms of my feet. I posted an entry about having no idea what was coming next and being in so much pain and… miraculously, a few minutes later, I started to get so peacefully sleepy while simultaneously the body pain just dissolved and I thought, before I fell asleep this is weird, maybe someone put something in my smoothie to ease the pain! But nothing could have worked that good unless it was some special kind of love potion and how would they know I was in pain? How strange, though, to fall asleep, feeling cared for in this way, the night before I entered an institution where my care was presided over by the Wicked Witch of the West…