Monday, September 28, 2009
Mountains and molehills
This weekend, friends of our from Amynah’s lab took us on a massive tour of Los Angeles, the only way that Los Angeles can be seen – by car. We covered some 130 miles (which is… errr… 200 km?).
The most interesting thing we saw (in the picture above), for me, was this dune in a park near Manhattan Beach, a ritzy part of town south of Santa Monica.
College and high school football is a huge - huge deal here. Roughly half the LA Times sports pages are dedicated to the sport.
This park, with its enormous sand dune, was used by a select group of athletes in the know. They would race up the unstable, mushy slope as a means of strengthening their calves and thigh muscles, the better to do battle with their meathead peers on the athletics field.
However, with the internet, word got out. Soon, athletes from all over Los Angeles were converging on the little park. And they brought their friends, their girlfriends, their cars, and their car stereos.
This picture has nothing to do with this post. This thing isn't a real island - it's manmade, built to hold an oil rig.
The local residents were somewhat discomfited by this invasion. The newcomers were loud, they stayed all hours, and their presence denied others the use of the park. Unavoidably, there were class and racial elements to the conflict – the locals were rich and mostly white, the invaders poor, and mostly black.
And so, the authorities solved the problem by putting up a fence, forbidding anyone the use of the dune.
I think all of this could have been avoided if people here just played hockey instead.