Saturday, September 24, 2005

ceci n'est pas une pipe

Just when I had lulled myself into thinking that I live in a city like any other, I find myself in the middle of some whacked out scene that should only take place in either a movie, or in this case, on the local news. Tonight, two blocks from my house, I drove right into what must have been the end of a high speed car chase. A fire engine, ten police cars, two guys in a Nissan Maxima, and floodlights galore... you get the picture. I confess, I had always hoped that if I lived in LA long enough I was going to bump into one of these sooner or later. I live so close to the 405 and the Santa Monica freeway that it was just a matter of time before I saw the miracle of a live car chase right before my eyes. Helicopters circle overhead in my neighborhood every night. It's gotten to the point where the sound soothes me and helps me go to sleep. They circle endlessly, looking for a reason to fill soundbytes on the morning news. Churning the sky in a way that evokes what it might be like to live in a post-apocalyptic urban nightmare. Well, the live car chase did not disappoint. You could smell fear permeating the night air. The two guys in the car were terrified that they were going to die and the police were also terrified that they might have to kill them. The floodlights gave it all the unreal quality of a movie set, an image that was only shattered by the sobering sight of police officers getting out of their cruisers with real guns in their holsters. Moments like this in the city remind me of how strangely LA exists within the blurry line between reality and movie fiction. And what is most disturbing about this is not that fake events have become convincingly real, but the fact that real events have become so convincingly fake that something you really did see happen can feel like nothing more than a scene from bad Schwarzenegger movie come true.

No comments: