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Along the 110 freeway near the Golden State, there is a series of pedestrian sidewalks
that can take one from San Fernando Road to Chinatown. At the point where the
northbound 110 transitions to the 5 north, a spiral staircase leads from one Escheresque
autoscape to another. This staircase barely registers with drivers who are intent
on negotiating their turns — unless some out-of-context human is glimpsed calmly
smoking a cigarette there. As the endless stream of traffic whizzes by, the smoker
can make brief eye contact with astonished passengers and backseat kids who will
doubtlessly be put to bed unbelieved as they hysterically babble about the phantom
they saw. Lone drivers on cell phones are particularly apt to do a double take
and the occasional stoner will grin widely. Of course, part of the pleasure in
lurking is being invisible; the other part is being observed but not understood.
As an eerie sentinel at such a juncture, one has an opportunity to make a lasting
impression on some people in an exchange that lasts only a nanosecond. Ninety
percent of the cars speed by, the autonauts within blissfully unaware; the others
are jerked into the realization of the stultifying outrageousness of driving at
fatal speeds in a death machine. Judging from the battered crash barriers and
smashed barrels of sand, a lurker isn’t the only thing that wakes some people
up there.

LA Weekly