W is for a whited world.
It was a condemned building. I knew that because about eight years ago, I had snuck into it with a partner in crime to scout for shooting this parkour video. The place looked like a gutted abandoned motel. It felt unsafe as we trailed its wrap-around balcony on the second floor. It could’ve crumbled at any second, so I decided not to use the location for our video.
Driving by years later, the way I had hundreds of times on Sunset on my way home from Silver Lake, something unexpected happened: I saw white. And I nearly got into an accident.
I swerved and pulled over on the next block to try and make sense of what I’d glimpsed, a surreal world of white in the midst of everyday traffic.
All-white palm trees reached to the sky and surrounded a brilliant white structure. It took a moment to recognize the building as the formerly dingy eyesore I’d snuck into years before where I’d probably breathed in asbestos. It had been transformed into something remarkable, and I needed to understand.
I locked my car and ran over to the bar across the street from the white world to grill the bartender.
It was an art installation. A normal enough explanation, and a good lesson: if you can help it, don’t look for ways to demystify your miracles. But I was impacted enough by all the white — all the weird beauty — that I didn’t find the answer too anti-climactic. Such a simple idea and application, and yet, it transcended its own simplicity with a powerful, outer-worldly effect.
The installation would be temporary, according to the bartender, and the white would eventually wash off.
Yet a year later, it hasn’t. Maybe it’s because we haven’t had much rain in Los Angeles. But I don’t look too closely when I drive by. I don’t want to taint my first memory of the miraculous white oasis on Sunset.
~ Part of the A to Z Challenge ~
A post a day except Sunday for the month of April to cover topics beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Events always real, names always changed.
Cathartic Monkeyism returns in May.
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