Passage #108: 27 July 2011

Celebrate Your Scars

You can go through life avoiding confrontation. You can always take the easy road, the path of least resistance. You can mitigate risk and escape forever unharmed. But such a life will be a life without texture, flat and dull. Unscathed but untouched, you will pass your days as if in a quiet waiting room, biding time until your number is called. There is a reason there are clichés about ventures and gains. You must aim high, and make leaps, despite the fact that sometimes you might fall. And, when you do fall -- not to be too self-help book, not to crib too much from the motivational seminar playbook -- when you do, you should not be embarrassed but rather celebrate it as a chance to learn, a chance to grow. You must gain strength from your falls so that next time you might leap higher still.

Los Angeles is an ideal place to do this. It is a city of crazy dreams and wild leaps of faith, of make-it-big successes and gigantic, pie-in-face failures. And it is also a city less of monuments than of monumental scars. Thus, this week, in celebration of our own scars, we visit three of the city's great grey scars of civic infrastructure. None are failures per se, but it is hard to see them as more than ambivalent successes. And the route? It is perhaps ironically flat and short -- but certainly never dull.*

* Especially not dull if you are afraid of dogs (as I kinda am), if our leap together is anything like the scouting mission (I'm not stating the dogs are always there, but let's just say I felt like I was on their turf; now, that being said, they appeared to be all bark -- and chase -- and no bite). Just don't wear your bacon pants.

Route Map

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