The City of Industry

I love the name of this place, even though I’ve yet to see signs of any industry at all, this being largely a residential area, except for the single hotel where my work conference is taking place. From my window I can see a golf course and the smog that obscures the San Gabriel Mountains. Hills, actually. Who would know what kind of land mass they are? You can’t see even their outline — it’s just all brown, all the time.

I’ve been holed up in my hotel, and when I’m not being industrious, I’ve been thinking about perfume and how much I loved trying to figure out what I wanted to wear. For some reason, when I happened on Guerlain, and realized what a history there was there, and how you can actually buy perfume that women wore before the First World War, maybe even in Proust’s time, I became very, very interested in the idea of scent as a connection with the past. Our physical connection to the past is almost entirely through things. It’s amazing to think about all the wedding rings, and vases, and mirrors, and fountain pens, that are still hanging around long after their owners have died. But it wasn’t until I smelled L’Heure Bleue that I realized I was smelling something a lot of women, now long dead, had worn. (I would add that I think they have tinkered with this scent, but it’s close enough to the original to count as a line to the past.) So now I spray it on and think about that golden time before the war. I don’t want to live then (although I wouldn’t mind going back to Paris soon), but I sure like smelling that time.

Little House on the Prairie Report: Travel for work doesn’t count, because most of it is paid for by them, except for gum and bottled water at the airport. I don’t know how they’re doing at home, but I’m guessing it’s going pretty well. W never has any money in his wallet, so that’ll keep them home on the prairie. I forgot and bought a newspaper.

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5 thoughts on “The City of Industry

  1. The placename, City of Industry, conjures up images of a city of the future as depicted in a B Sci-Fi movie of the 50’s. Lots of people, all looking alike, wearing odd clothing, made of neutral-toned fabric, totally devoid of any individuality. Maybe the dissidents wear L’Heure Bleue.

  2. Cam, Those people? The ones who look alike and are wearing odd clothing devoid of any individuality? Those are my co-workers.

    Only kidding. I work with wonderful people.

    But you’re right, it’s a very sci-fi sounding name for a city in the San Gabriel Valley in the HUGE place that is Los Angeles.

    It’s good to be home in Berkeley where all the dissidents live.

  3. I had the same feeling of pride when I read those news stories about lawyers on the barriacades in Pakistan. I know plenty of activist lawyers who use their power for good, but it’s not often that you read about lawyers taking to the street en masse in that fashion.

  4. Those lawyers taking to the streets all wearing the same suit and tie were wonderful. I was surprised they weren’t hauling their briefcases. Could have been good for self-defense.

    Thinking about perfume makes me want to go out and buy some, but my nose gets so numb so quickly. I just wear an organic essence of tea rose from Whole Foods that always get compliments.

  5. Hey Kate — It is indeed a wonderful display.

    Hello TIV — Yes on the briefcases! Big heavy ones full of boring papers which are good weapons in themselves. Your whole foods tea rose sounds lovely. I’m going to find that next time I’m there.

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