Glendale is moving up in the world. This may sound like an obvious statement, but if you don’t see the daily progress in construction on Brand Boulevard, the changes can be shocking.
I don’t spend much time in town anymore. When I say “in town,” I don’t mean to imply that I have become a jet-setter — although a business luncheon in Paris, a conference in Brazil and a power dinner in Rome would be nice. No, I have not become an international man of mystery. At least, not just yet.
But I am covering more distance for work. I am traveling east for about a half an hour daily. Since taking on a marketing account in Monrovia as a consultant two years ago, this has become a periodic routine. Recently, my relationship with the company became more formal, and I have been entrusted with more duties on a more formal basis. As I tell my friends, I have a real job now. It means I am no longer my own boss. In retrospect, I never really was. There will always be clients who need work and vendors who need money.
But I am enjoying the experience and the challenge.
The fact that I don’t get to spend too much time in Glendale has given me a new perspective about the aesthetic progress we are making. From time to time, I still need to do my grocery shopping and take my car to be washed. Covering the perimeter of the square connecting Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, Pacific Food Mart and California Car Wash on Los Feliz Boulevard gives me an opportunity to see what’s been happening during my absence.
The Americana at Brand is looking better and better. I have no regrets about giving up my tiny office at 207 South Brand to make room for this project (as if I had a choice). I will always have all the good memories from the old hole in the wall.
The addition to the Brand skyline seems to belong there.
Maybe in a different world, if mankind could start all over again, we wouldn’t have to be so consumer-oriented. We could all live in a big garden with lots of fruit. Instead of working for money, everyone could do what they liked to do and contribute to society in their own way. If you liked to paint, you’d paint; if you liked to grow berries, you’d grow berries; and if you liked to make shoes, you’d make shoes. And of course, if you liked to litigate, you’d do that. Thus, the berry-grower would go to the shoemaker and pick up a pair of shoes and then give him some berries, and the artist would go to the lawyer and deliver a piece of artwork before asking him to take his case against the neighbor living in the tree next door.
If that sounds like a communist utopia, it isn’t. The Garden of Eden existed long before Karl Marx visited his buddy Friedrich Engels in Manchester, England.
Oh well, maybe in a parallel universe.
But for the time being, I am happy with what’s being done in an area that was borderline desolate.
Monrovia has long reminded me of what Glendale used to be. It’s a small, quiet town, yet not so small. It has its share of shootings, jaywalkers and lawlessness, too. And from time to time, you’ll see a group of five police cars hovering over a single traffic violator. It brings tears to my eyes; I miss home.
One of the first things I appreciated about Monrovia was a series of banners honoring the local men and women serving in our armed forces. It is a strange phenomenon to be engaged in a war so far away from home. Unless you have family or friends serving in the military, it is hard to connect with the reality of this war. The banners are a great gesture of thanks to our youngsters and a good way to stay connected. I was happy to see Glendale has followed Monrovia’s example.
It means we have not forgotten our small-town roots altogether. At least, not just yet.
PATRICK AZADIAN is a writer and the creative director of a local marketing and graphic design studio living in Glendale. He may be reached at respond@ fromthemargins.net.