Red El Camino

I imagine I’m driving around the Los Angeles area. There are lots of palm trees, restaurants, stores; there are hills and the occasional beach. This is my first time in L.A. I’m just driving around aimlessly, but that’s exactly what I want to be doing. I’m at a light. I spot a red El Camino a few cars ahead in the lane to my right. It’s so bright and mesmerizing. I tell myself this is why I’m in L.A., to see this car. I keep driving around. I’m listening to The Doors. Jim Morrison sings things like hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name? and illegitimate son of a rock ‘n roll star. I’m singing those things along with him. I’m aimless and the sky is a big gorgeous blue. I see the red El Camino again, but this time it’s passing through the intersection I’m sitting at. What the fuck? I think to myself. We were just on the same road. How’d it get on that road? The person in the shiny red El Camino is cruising around just like I am. And they should be. They live in L.A. and they own a shiny red El Camino. I find myself at what feels like a dead-end, a road curving through shops and restaurants. How did I get here? I ask. What happened to the road? Jim Morrison sings they got the guns / but we got the numbers. I see the red El Camino again—winding through the shops too. Fuck. How often do I see a red El Camino? How often do I see it multiple times in one day? Not often. Now, I can’t think about L.A. without thinking about that shiny red El Camino. And I wonder why there aren’t more of them on the road. All the cars around me look like mere machines. What happened to all the red El Caminos? Then I see another one, parked by the curb next to the beach, no other cars around it. But it’s not red. In the past, it would’ve made me happy just to see that one El Camino, but now I’m spoiled. All El Caminos should be red. Jim Morrison sings about people being strange when you’re a stranger. I used to disagree with him, but now I’ve changed my mind. Jim’s right, I think. People are strange when you’re a stranger.