Van Nuys rhymes with fries and disguise and otherwise, but it smells like a refrigerator that has been used for years to store cabbages. It’s the smell of something that once grew, but then sat and waited. It’s a smell that holds on.
Looking around Van Nuys, I can’t get a sense of what the land looks like. There doesn’t seem to be much land here, just paving to get to somewhere else, and a lot of used car lots to help people who want to get away, or to come through, or whatever it is that they do here.
Yet, I see things that are familiar all around me. There’s the Hampton Inn, and Denny’s just down the street, and the competing Chevron and Shell Oil gas stations, where I can fill up self serve so that I can get away again.