“Hard Target” — Page Nine
Just a quiet visit; no trouble here.
Run-down apartment complexes like these are all over Los Angeles; they’re kinda seedy without actually being slums. They have thugs, sure, but they’re not hellholes. If you’re a local, you usually know how to stay out of trouble.
If you’re not a local, or you are a former Ranger seeking information regarding your ghost girlfriend, all bets are off.
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The Gritty City
I was waiting in line at some event or other a while back and ended up talking to a couple of German tourists who were visiting Hollywood on vacation. They professed to have had a pretty good time overall, but one thing puzzled them. Why, they wondered, were all the cars in Los Angeles so dirty? Even the new, expensive cars. Los Angeles was supposed to be a car-culture city – didn’t anyone ever wash them? No one in Germany would permit even an old car to get so grimy.
Well, I’ve been to Germany and yes, it’s a fastidious place – in fact, my wife and I have, in our photo albums, actual photos of German bus-station rest rooms, photos which we took simply because they were bus station bathrooms and they were gleaming. So to start with, the Germans are already starting from a different point of reference.
But in LA’s defense – people do wash their cars. I mean, not me, because my car is often bouncing across dirt roads in the desert, but many Los Angeles drivers wash their cars. Often, even. It doesn’t matter. Unless the cars are kept in enclosed parking garages and barely ever driven, they still look grimy after a few days. And the Santa Anas are the reason why.
The red winds pick up the desert dust and carry it over the city, and it coats everything with a fine red grit. Rain would wash it away, but we haven’t had much rain lately. Even when the winds are not blowing the dust has settled on things, and it gets wafted around by traffic and breezes. So most of Los Angeles has this slight pinkish-beige color by nature. It’s helped along by the landlords of run-down apartment complexes, who – trying to conceal the grime – have actually created a cheap pinkish-beige paint that they use for all their buildings because it doesn’t show the Santa Ana dust.
Probably the best bet would be to paint all the cars pinkish-beige as well.
At least the “Road Reaper” there (which, despite all my protestation to the contrary, keeps being referred to as the “Maxmobile” in our page-planning sessions) has a built-in electrostatic dust repellant feature. And indoor parking. So it gets to be all shiny and gleaming.
German tourists would approve.
— Bob out