Tuesday, May 08, 2012
California's Gods: Strange Platypus(es)
We've noticed lately a strange Californian dialectical twist: there, freeways take the definite article. In other parts of the country one speaks of I 91 or 45 North. In California, there's The 5, The 405, The 10. Each of these freeways has its own quirks, a personality of sorts. They aren't just stretches of pavement but presences, creatures that necessitate the definite article by their very individuality and uniqueness. They are the angry gods to be worked, placated, feared, for without them life in California as we know it would cease. Perhaps that's fitting for a land whose cities are named for saints and angels. Mary may preside over the new pueblo of our lady of the angels, but the freeways slither like gigantic serpents through the waste places, malevolent spirits not yet trampled under foot.