I was at a busy intersection on Slauson the day before Halloween 2021. The van was loaded with large pumpkins and sundries to carry the entire household (humans, dogs and chickens) with food and snacks (the latter considered not as food, but necessary) for three or four days. The weather was chilly, and I recognized LA has a fall season. Some deciduous trees had turned their colors to yellow and brown, and dropped their foliage everywhere.
The intersection at La Cienega is always backed up, and Saturday afternoons aren’t different from the other days. My eyes wandered as I noted all of the cars sitting idle. All were pretty much the same: SUVs, trucks, sedans, vans. Ho hum… until I spotted one SMART car.
It looked smart. The shade was an unusual creme neatly outlined by a piping design, akin to a Coco Chanel suit. I don’t know anything about SMART cars, other than they’re still being sold in Europe, and it’s pretty much dead in the United States. The Europeans like their compact cars which makes sense when navigating the narrow streets of cities, towns and villages – at least of what I’d seen in my limited travel experience of Europe. Anyways, it made sense and indeed smart to travel in compact cars in small streets.
Now here’s what struck me as weird. As I sat in my wide and roomy van, I noticed an arm connected to a hand with fingers that held a lit cigarette. Why was that odd to me? I started to see more details. The opened sunroof billowed smoke into the atmosphere above, while the arm, like a puppet, was drawn in and out of the driver’s side window consistently and rapidly! The pace was like a matador swiftly and adeptly moving a red cape as a bull charges at it. The tease, the dust, the heat and the cry of the crowd incests the animal further, making it charge more furiously towards the bullseye. This arm was flicking ashes on the street after each inhale of nicotine.
I watched in wonder for a little while, until I awakened to the trick my mind was knitting together – the juxtaposition of a chain smoker in a teeny car with S M A R T smattered across the back. I laughed. We are humans. We are inconsistent. I simply love it.
“We’re all bozos on the bus,
so we might as well sit back and enjoy the ride.”