Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Different Point-of-Hue: L.A. Stories 2008 (Prologue)

I really have little idea where this is going. The one thing I DO know is that things will be different this time — well, at least that’s my intention going in, anyway. Unlike previous yarns of my travels, this will be a relatively short series, although it could easily be one of ‘AJ’s Epics’ from the standpoint of my activities calendar in this, my latest incursion into the land of my past; my fourth homecoming to Southern California in the past five years, just completed during these last ten days of August 2008.

And though it may seem as though my visits to SoCal have practically been annual events, that’s really not the case. The first two trips of this period were only months apart; beginning with Michelle’s and my visit in May of 2004, then again three months later, when I made a second, solo trip in August.

The ‘L.A. Stories’ theme continued with my visit the following August of 2005, however without nearly the same steam as before. Seems my motivation (not to mention my enthusiasm for the subject matter — and that’s honestly no slight to my pal Gooch — I’m just sayin’…) went into hibernation about halfway through the writing of that ’05 series, which I’m finally — with much inner-coaxing — finishing just this week.

In between the two elapsed exactly three years’ time; three significant years in my opinion. Either my personal sensibilities, or L.A. as an inhabitable environment — or both — seem very different to me now. Either I’ve changed, or L.A. has — and in fairly significant measure in my opinion.

While I indeed had a great time here during my extended, nine-day vacay, I’ll have to admit, it wasn’t as great as I remembered from those landmark visits of 2004 and ’05; and as of the writing of these words, I haven’t figured out just why that is as of yet. And while it could easily be singled out as an excuse, I don’t think the untimely and in many ways personally tragic loss of my camera, and with it some wonderful photos I took last week is the sole culprit for my less-than-sunny disposition right now. I just honestly felt this creeping sense of disappointment throughout the week that I’m still unable to shake.

I dunno. Maybe I’ll figure it all out here as I write out my thoughts. Then again, maybe what I’m writing right now will never even see the light of day.

It just seems as though my focus is different now than in years past. Perhaps the rose colored shades I have for years worn while gazing upon my erstwhile homeland have finally lost their hue.

Perhaps the f-stop on my internal camera lens no longer limits the depth of field as I survey that which once surrounded me. Maybe I’m now just seeing everything clearly for the first time. Maybe things really have changed in Southern California, and unfortunately, none for the better.

However, to borrow a phrase from a soon-to-be-mentioned protagonist in this series, take heart, gentle readers; it’s not all gloom and doom. I actually had a terrific time for the vast majority of this visit. It’s just that I won’t be waxing quite so rhapsodic as in the past; I’ll be doing my best to keep it real, yo.

Next: Getting right to the good part…
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