In the days before the virus arrived, I was falling out of love with my hometown. I’d had enough of Los Angeles and its conspicuous displays of wealth, and the public tragedy of its smoky homeless camps. I was sick of the Teslas and the exotic Porsche SUVs and the gas-guzzling Expeditions cutting me off on the freeway. The thoughtlessness and self-interest of the fit and monied classes disgusted me (in California today, a toned body is a fairly reliable marker of class status). The nouveau riche had set off the insane Gold Rush of the real-estate market, forcing legions of humble folk to flee to the desert in search of affordable housing.

I missed the earnestness and naiveté of the happy, sunburnt, flabby, and unpretentious Angeleno middle class. I missed the feeling that we were all equal, somehow: not just in the Constitutional, Enlightenment sense of that word, but also in the backyard California party sense of being comrades in relaxation gathered around barbecues and inflatable kiddie pools. In the new Los Angeles, smart people know we’re all not equal, and that we never really were and might never truly be.

Read on, courtesy of Literary Hub:


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