I've always believed that you fall in love with a city at night.
During the day, it's full of people doing all the things that each particular city does best -- being the "Big Apple", the "Hog Butcher to the World", the "City that Never Sleeps"…
But when those people go home to their own lives, the city gets to be itself, gets to be all that all the generations who've lived there have made it. Night's when you see a city for what it is, free of all its present busy-ness and what it's turning into next.
There's nothing like wandering around Paris or London or New York at night. The make-up is off. The pretenses are down. You see them for what they really are. And then you realize why you love them.
I fell in love with Los Angeles in a moment so small it's almost not worth remembering. But like falling in love with a person, it was one of those little moments you'll never forget.
It was about Midnight on a Friday night. I drove out of the studio gates in Burbank burned out, thirsty and tired. I was living all the way across town near the ocean. But I'd promised to drop a co-worker in Glendale.
By the time I did that, the freeway onramp looked more inviting than any of the local watering holes. So I swung aboard and turned on the radio.
Perfectly cued, I hit the empty lanes of non-traffic as The Doors began "LA Woman".
I'd been listening to the song for 30 years. Liked it. Knew its history as the last Doors song Jim Morrison recorded. Apparently he finished his track, dropped the mic and walked outside to catch a jet to Paris and eternity.
The music swept past and into the warm night as I dropped down out of the hills with the lights of the city spread out before me. And it suddenly seemed like I was driving to the rhythm of the music and what I was passing was what The Doors were really singing about.
It made the Beach as the song ended. Of course, that's impossible. Even I don't drive that fast.
Or maybe, like the moment you fall in love, Time just stopped while the city and I connected.
Like I said, a tiny moment you just never forget.
Every now and then, something reminds me of that night. Like this short video by Colin Rich. The beauty of a city at night.
Enjoy your Sunday…
Or -- if you'd rather just listen to The Doors…