Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Notes From the Fire
Funny what a 600-acre brush fire does to a neighborhood. Los Feliz, and even Hollywood, was oddly quiet tonight. That's not to say it wasn't a madhouse, but the village seemed to be at the lowest volume it's been in months.
Walking up Hillhurst, Mike and I encountered patches of people standing on corners, talking into cell phones, trying in vain to take far-away night shots on inadequate digital cameras, all staring north toward our beloved Griffith Park, which lay under a smoky and orange haze. (One benefit for anyone who could think of such a thing at a time like this was the sight of Los Feliz girls who were too bothered by the inferno to dress in more than a tank top and tight shorts before spilling out onto the street.) Between the corner-standers were a healthy number of streetside diners -- Tropicalia, Farfalla, the Japanese place, Puran's -- who would crane their necks toward the hill in between bites of roast chicken or angel hair pasta.
Traffic was diverted down a couple side streets, but the whole enterprise was admirably calm. I don't remember a single horn honk all night. Hudson was particularly proud of all the city-service vehicles and equipment lining Los Feliz Boulevard, at the ready to defend the village should the fire make its way down the hill.
The quiet good naturedness that permeated the air reminded me of the blackout of 2003 when I was in Cleveland. That and the fire tonight created situations where everyone in the neighborhood was concerned about the same thing, so day-to-day or night-to-night concerns were set aside, barriers among strangers momentarily cast aside.