Sunday, February 28, 2010
You could see the trails of the electric fireflies as they darted and danced, just out of reach over the heads of the foot traffic. Their glow lit faces with wonder and awe. Children and adults alike lifted their gaze toward the heavens, even after the trails had disappeared and the bright inverted after-images on the eyes of those who had watched too closely had faded.
The El above glowed faintly blue, warning of live tracks and wire between the distant cradles. The line was very often straight, easing the engineering of a smooth ride, and for that, just as often, buildings grew around the rails and cradles, incorporating them into their architecture, which soared far above the trails of the fireflies.
This was a pedestrian city. The only vehicles rode on rails and ran cleaner than the faint breaths of the people who took them, lacking in time and luxury to walk the streets below.
To the tourist, this was a city of wealth. Storefronts were clean, uncluttered, and bright. The paths were well tended and often polished to reflection. Architecture was tall and flawless, unadorned with noisy advertisements.
To the resident, this was a city of hard work, clever design, and cutting-edge engineering. The buildings stood taller, the El cradles stood further apart except where they were hidden completely, and the necessary services that kept everything running and kept even the most unskilled of laborers employed, were utterly hidden from the from the incurious eye.