“In a real dark night of the soul,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.” Scott knew a little something about living in Southern California. That inner storms rage here, even though the skies remain mostly blue. That there are a lot of starry smiles masking ulterior motives. He understood the surprising vagaries of this place. He quickly figured out the weird duality of paradise. He dealt with it mostly through gin bottles, discovering the way a couple of drinks made everything funnier, but a slew of them brought torrents of sad, the kind of sad that never fit in with all the palm trees and sunshine.
There is a rumor that Fitzgerald once got thrown out of South Pasadena’s Raymond hotel. The story goes that he got drunk and said the place had too many god damned flowers. The same story has also been attributed to Charlie Chaplin… someone else who understood the light and dark of this part of the world, and the way both are yin/yanged here forever. And if you live in Southern California long enough, you’ll spend time on both sides. Not all of us reach for a gin bottle. Some of us just crawl under the covers, instead.
It rained in South Pas yesterday. It was a good day for a bad mood. It was a good day for huddling in one of the lighter, lovelier parts of Los Angeles — one with all those (wonderful) god damned flowers. It was a good day for lurking inside within your shadow while nature rinsed away some of the outside grime.
Three o’clock in the morning? Yeah. Definitely. But this time just for one day.
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