Dreamin' by the Tracks
Gerard VanderLeun at American Digest put up a post on the rock classic, "California Dreaming" by The Mama's and Pappas. This song is on the top ten in my earworm archive of 8-track tunes. I
can hear every note without a radio. Like a fat line of nostalgia it
clouds up my head, and pulls me back to high school.
And right now the California sky is, indeed, rainy, cold, and gray, and the leaves are appropriately brown as is everyone’s overall mood here in the Southland. So, just like in the song, I went for a walk.
The streets are too empty. No one’s out at all. I don’t even have to look both ways before crossing.
Down at the tracks on the corner at First avenue, I can see the boarded up remains of my favorite pizza joint. Last year they went out of business, and then caught fire.
The railroad easement isn’t too muddy to walk just yet, (note: old photo) but I don’t go down there now, because of the homeless camp at the little trestle. This part of the easement is a broad wedge of naked dirt, chunks of concrete, brown, dry tumbleweeds, and hard, sharp stone. The north side is lined with the cinder block walls separating the back yards from the weeds and trash.
And I see something new in the world spray painted on that block wall. You learn a little about graffiti over the years. I can tell the difference between a tagging crew, a gang, a “graffiti artist”, and some clown with a spray can. The text was not artfully drawn. It was done quickly in blood red paint. Thick, blocky, uneven letters read, “WAKE UP AMERICA!”
But the signature came from practiced tagger. I’m guessing the kid is either based, or on the way.