A mural outside a Mexican restaurant reminded Ruth Prieto Arenas of her homeland. The colorful landscape, in stark contrast to the strip of plain brick tenements in Manhattan, stopped her.
“It was a mural of volcanoes, which in Aztec mythology has one representing a man and the other a woman,” she said. “It was a love story.”
But once inside, she learned a very different, and all too common, story — of loneliness, longing and adjusting to a new home. The customers were almost all men, exhausted from long days as construction hands, deliverymen or cooks. The waitresses, who had only recently arrived in the United States, offered their company — and nothing more — for twice the normal price of a beer.
Waitresses in a Restaurant for Lonely Men (via Lens)
It used to be the case that L.A. seemed utterly different from Eastern cities in one crucial way: it was already hauntingly apocalyptic, a place of steep hills, deep predator-filled canyons, terrible earthquakes, and winds bearing plutonium from Japan. The first month I lived here I cowered in my bed at night as the helicopters passed over, thinking there was an ongoing series of manhunts… But I’m struck, visiting this time, by how California’s apocalyptic ecology no longer feels absolutely foreign. Since 2001, that science-fiction feeling has migrated eastward. Last fall, Sandy drove home to all of us the folly and imperiled grandeur of our island existence, with its unprecedented flooding and winds. In March, I took my one trip back East—to Boston, where I stayed in a hotel just yards away from where the first Marathon bombing would occur a few weeks later—and later watched images of dazed Bostonites being interviewed and “locked down.” Given all this, L.A.’s soot raining down from a sky of sun seems relatively normal: a kind of pathetic fallacy for our climate-changing, end-days era.
The story has everything you would expect from the Post: a gang of costumed bullies, led by Minnie Mouse; a friendly Spider-Man, who tells Pooh he won’t make money holding a honey pot; and an Elmo, an Alvin the Chipmunk and a Hello Kitty who don’t speak English.
Anthony Weiner emerges back into the public eye with a long profile in the NYT magazine. But to me, the story seems less about him than his wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton who rarely speaks to reporters and has been such an enigma throughout this whole scandal. The story is really a must-read for anybody fascinated by the personalities of people who decide to go into public life and what drives them. One tidbit that surprised me was how little time Weiner and Abedin had spent actually together, even after they were married:
“Anthony and I had not spent more than 10 consecutive days together until I was pregnant and we went to Italy and France for two weeks,” she told me. “That was the longest period of time we’d ever spent together. Later, when we thought about it, we didn’t realize that so much of our lives were kind of these snippets of, we see each other for a few days and then are separated.”