The thing about views

Elevation is divine.

The other night, a few friends and I went up to the top of Griffith Observatory to peer down at the sprawl monster that is Los Angeles. The Empire State Building charges an exorbitant amount for a view we’ve all experienced one too many times via every TV show ever. Meanwhile, Griffith blows visitors’ minds at no cost with its vantage point of a majestic blanket of lights extending as far as the eye can see.

A close friend of mine and I are view hunters: a good time consists of driving around in search of elevation.

Griffith was one such stopping point. I can’t really describe what it was like, just the feeling that something profound could have been said there but the moment was too profoundly simple to necessitate verbal banalities. Seeing L.A. laid out before me like that cemented the following thought: Los Angeles is the post-modern city. It’s not so much a city as it is an amorphous, all-consuming, cultural amoeba. Everything it touches — and you really can’t tell where it ends — becomes the city, until all natural beings are stamped out to be replaced with the identifier: “this is L.A. I am L.A.”

When you’re up there staring down, you don’t have a bird’s eye view. You have God’s eye view. For a moment, you can see a city the way a deity gets to see it.

The thing about views though, is that you’re not allowed to stay up there indefinitely. Eventually, you’ll have to descend into the cesspool of the cosmopolitan.


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