While the city slept off its hangovers, Lola and I decided to take a stroll up Franklin Avenue. By the time we crossed under the 101 overpass, the summer morning’s heat had already begun to seep through the earthquake-cracked concrete. We stepped over shattered glass and passed-out transients on our way to pick up a copy of the New Yorker and a cup of coffee.
Our neighborhood isn’t the type where the trash you step over comes from some fast-food chain that’s conquered both hemispheres. Our litter is more likely to be a greasy, unlabeled, yellow wrapper from places like Tito’s Taco Truck #16 and Korico!!! (Korean and Mexican BBQ). Lola doesn’t mind the trash and I guess, I shouldn’t either. “Sterility is for hospitals and hotel rooms,” was the look on her face when I chased after and deposited a runaway wrapper in the trash.
It was early July and June Gloom still hadn’t burned off. As we stepped over a shattered green splatter of glass, I asked Lola, “Do you think the broken bottles of whiskey and wine, represent the broken dreams of this city’s citizens in some way?”
She stared back at me, not with an empty look, but a nearly bored one. “Why are you asking me this?” I shrugged. “If you’re looking for some sort of artistic catharsis — if you think these shards of glass are actually mosaics on the concrete or a stained-glass religion of hard-drinkers and alley-sleepers, well, I am not going to give it to you. You’re in the big city now, kid.”
Lola squatted and peed on a patch of grass.
“Good girl, Lola.”
We walked the rest of the way in silence.
–The Neapolitan Mastiff