I’ve been patiently waiting for the Gold Line Metro to push far enough east so that I can walk over to the station . As it is , I could walk to the Sierra Madre Villa Station , currently the closest one , if I had all the morning to get there . I could , of course , walk several blocks from my house and catch a bus to the nearest station , too .
A few years ago I was on my way to see a friend in Connecticut , flying in to Hartford , and I decided to do it all on public transportation . This is Los Angeles territory , though , where public transportation is the deadbeat crazy relative , is at best a civic afterthought .
I went out early one morning , walked the half block down to Foothill Boulevard . Step one was to catch the bus along Foothill . I walked to the corner to the bus stop . No bench . Hadn’t there been a concrete bus bench there ? I looked up and down foothill —- no benches . I walked across the street and asked the all-night gas station guy about the bus . How often do they come ? He said there ain’t been no bus on Foothill now for almost a month . Foothill Boulevard is a major street on this side of town , spreading up along the foothills . No bus ?
I had to make an LAX flight at a certain time . This was gonna mess up my plan bigtime . Ada wasn’t home or I would have asked her for a ride to the metro station . So I called my friend Willie . Willie knew my public transport plan . He’d understand my predicament . I’d picked Willie up at LAX several times ; waited hours once while his flight was diverted to San Francisco and then until it finally decided to come back to L.A . We had each others’ backs , so to speak , I guess , when it came to trying to get out of the city or trying to get back in . Like friend assurance insurance , travel disaster personal indemnity .
So , I’m waiting for the metro tracks to be laid and the station to be built . So far Metro has built a Gold Line bridge over the 210 freeway . I’m not sure what the design of the bridge is supposed to represent . There are two large concrete forms that look a little like stylized pineapples . Pineapples in Arcadia ? Oranges or lemons would be okay . Grapes ? Even bananas or pomegranites or persimmons might fit somehow . But , pineapples ?
Those things must not , I think , be pineapples . Who would do that ? Maybe baskets ? Native American baskets ? No , can’t be . Too pineapple- shaped . Maybe , for some odd reason , hand grenades ? I’ll have to ask someone who knows . My imagination ain’t able to stretch big enough to figure that one out yet .
The bridge was once on Lucky Baldwin land . He grew just about everything on his ranch there , I think , except pineapples . The land was also , for a couple of decades , an Army observation balloon school . Baldwin was a horse lover , too , a racetrack builder , a horse breeder . The Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia was also , for a few years during WWII , an Army ordinance base . Grenades ! I’m looking for clues to explain the two concrete structures at each end of the new Metro bridge .
It doesn’t matter . No one asked me before they built the things , after all . They look like they’ll be around for awhile , whatever they are supposed to be . Time will attach it’s own meanings to them .
Meanwhile , I watch the spot where the station is going to be built . It’s an empty lot. There was an earlier station there eighty years ago or so . There were tracks there two years ago , also , tracks abandoned for fifty years or more . They were waiting patiently and quietly , all that time , those spans of old steel track , only to be gouged out eventually , and disposed of , I guess . Maybe they went to a train museum , instead . Maybe a sculptor will concrete them vertically into the ground at odd angles and call it art .
I think that the new track will look pretty much the same as the old track . Higher up . More shiney . More concrete beneath . The people who will ride it will be pretty much the same , too , I suppose , but with electronic devices and the feeling of being , oh , so much more civilized , cultured , sophisticated , and smart .