All Abuzz on the Western Front


The view of the western skyline from my backyard skyline isn’t exactly spectacular.

There’s one palm tree. The neighborhood is embroidered by the L.A. River Basin, better known for hosting rebels without causes and terminators without pauses than for an actual tributary that runs 48 miles start to finish.

It’s in an area my resale-conscious neighbors — even my best friend — have taken to calling Lake Balboa, though it’s really Van Nuys.

Hell, let’s be honest. It’s The Valley. America’s sweat stain.  Porn’s Vatican City. Our largest exports are porn and anal sex. It is smog-choked and traffic-strangled and beastly overgrown and…then. Right around 5:30.

The light catches right.

Or a creature turns bright.

And across the cement river there is a house full of kids. Or a daycare center. Or a park. It’s too fenced and green to see.

But not too beastly overgrown to hear: laughing and shouting and screamingtoheaven simply because their young lungs allow it.

And suddenly…

My music mixes with their laughter, and Esme gets in the mood to fetch, and I get in the mood to throw.

And suddenly…It’s not Lake Balboa, or Van Nuys, or Weedville, or Porn City. It’s not even smog-choked.

It’s home.

I take it back, what I said about that backyard perch.

It’s a pretty spectacular view.

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