The End of the Earth

Did you know that in California when you have an old beat up car fail the smog test, the state will buy it from you for $1,000? Neither did I. But when Brendan's jeep failed the smog test after an endless cycle of repair visits, he somehow discovered this little known piece of information. Brendan, who will be in the wedding party next year, asked me to pick from the state sanctioned drop-off site.

Located wholy within the city limits of Los Angeles, the approach to Pick Your Part was how I would imagine life would be like driving around a post-apocolyptic world. From the freeway, deep within the sweltering 100 degree mid-day sun of the San Fernando valley, I turned onto what seemed no different than the thousand other blue color mixed-ethnicity psuedo suburban areas of the city. But then with two left turns, I entered another world. There were trucks everywhere--every single one kicking up dirt to form a massive dust cloud. I pulled over and quickly raised the convertible top to avoid being overtaken by the yellow gritty air. If you've ever seen the movie, Traffic, you may remember what the scenes set in Mexico looked like. This was no different.

On one side of the road was a cement plant, on another was a massive landfill. Just past the landfill was--well, I don't know what it was, but there was a gigantic pile of dirt, lots of rusting equipment and more dump trucks than I could count. I almost drove past Pick Your Part, as it's walled in like a fortress, but I found my way in and saw a very exausted, but excited Brendan standing in the sweltering heat outside of a small office in a trailer. I was late. Maybe an hour late. But it didn't matter because his check still wasn't ready. He ran up to me and the first thing he said was, "This place is innnnnnnnsaaaaane." I parked the car.

This was the place cars went to die. And not just a few cars...it felt like the cemetary for every car in Southern California. All you could see were cars with the back drop of hazy mountains in the distance. There was nothing else--anywhere. Brendan said it felt like Tatooine and I agreed. I was half expecting a Jawa to peek it's head out from behind a smashed up BMW and try to sell me something.

As we waited a bit longer for Brendan's check, a neverending line of towtrucks brought in car after car after car. Some were practically destroyed while others the others that seemed perfectly fine on the outside likely didn't have what you would call a grade-a engine. I began to wonder what happens when they run out of space. I didn't see any cars leaving, but there was a huge crushing machine. But where did all that metal go? Some mysteries in this world will never be fully understood by mere mortals like myself. Eventually, Brendan got his check and we did the best we could to get back to the civilization we know on the other side of the hills--where there's ocean breezes, the temperature rarely goes above 85, and there aren't places like Pick Your Part.

Oh, and Brendan's check had the company's logo that you see below. If someone could explain to me what an octopus and the largest salvage yard on earth have in common, just go ahead and let me know.

1 comment:

Liz Stiles said...

I clicked on the link for Pick Your Part---there's one that is in between here and Long Beach!! It's only 15 miles from here. Why did you go to all the way to Sun Valley?!