Summer is over and the sunlight we've grown to feel so entitled to here in L.A. is steadily being dialed back. Darkness in L.A. is darker than in other places.
The 81 wheezes and sighs and squeals its way up Figueroa through the early darkness. Gas stations shine under mellowly lit blue (Mobil) and yellow (Shell) roofs -- self-contained beacons of pristine daytime. Blue and green neon signs in darkened, shuttered storefronts reading "Insurance" and "Water" heighten the general darkness.
Figueroa is receding and approaching red and white dots of light, passing under green lanterns. The Bargain Land blazes a cream-colored light out of its giant retail windows. T-shirts hang on a circular rack under the blaring light, unbrowsed. A field of artificial grass is bright under towering floodlights, and fifth graders wearing full sleeves dribble soccer balls through cones.
It's autumn in L.A.