Thursday, November 17, 2011
Raymond & Highland
If they didn’t intersect I’d never get home. And they are such modest streets. As Churchill almost said, They have much to be modest about. Raymond gives up after three blocks and Highland runs about twice that length exhausting itself in funky Venice.
Raymond has been deemed worthy of only one stop sign. It yields to 7th St. in humility. Highland's flow is interupted three times. It pauses for a full stop when it consorts with Raymond right outside our window; hardly time to contemplate the existential state of mankind but enough for a quick smooch.
If Samuel Clemens lived on this corner he may not have named himself, Mark Twain. We would probably know him as Raymond Highland. In fact if I were looking for a pseudonym I could think of none better. Maybe Raymond Chandler and Raymond Carver had the same idea.
There seems to be Raymond streets wherever we go. I could feel at home in Pasadena or Inglewood, even San Francisco and Philadelphia. Highland is well-named since it sits on a rise off the ocean shelf. I count on it to keep me dry in a tsunami.
Highland suffered a humiliation a few months ago when the Post office whisked away its mailbox. I’d become emotionally attached to that big blue mouth swallowing my letters. Now I must walked down a steep hill to deposit my returning Netflix which is good exercise but the return trip takes twice as long.
Both streets are quiet and sporadically tree-lined with a mix of apartments, condos and single-family homes. I wonder if there is an ordinance against children. In 27 years we’ve rarely seen any ghost or goblin kids at our door on Halloween. The neighborhood is home to a mix of aged Hippies, wannabe artists, folks who bought Microsoft at 3 and retirees who got in during rent control… like us. Few pedestrians can be seen except for dog-walkers, particularly now that they’ve removed my mail box. We have an early Frank Gehry building across from ours which will never be confused with Disney Hall.
The south leg of Highland ends with a street named, Ozone; not very thin air. Our air is often dense with its marine layer. Much of the time the sun doesn’t debut till mid-afternoon, having to fight its way through the cloud cover. It must be tough on the heliotropic blossoms but I spotted a regalia of passion flowers in summer dresses last year, one of which I couldn’t resist plucking.
Raymond, in its three-block life-span, comes to an unfortunate end, emptying itself into car-crazed Lincoln Blvd. It is blemished with an auto repair shop on one side and a car-wash on the other.
Bless Raymond Ave for its walkable length and bless Highland, too, for sending a compassionate policewoman to my door, one morning two years ago, alerting me to move my car for Monday street cleaning, rather than giving me a ticket. Not every street would be so forgiving.