Palm Springs (Marilyn Monroe eternally in the sun)


It does not get any clearer than this, and I am not talking about weather. The two- or is it three-story, plastic statue of Marilyn glazed and gazing south into that eternal sun of Palm Springs, surrounded by the moneyed seniors of Southern California. The dream of eternal youth (and Marilyn sooo unhappy as she aged) and the expanses of gated, secure, white tract developments (but with palm trees) that provide a warm winter to those who can afford it — I’m not knocking it, understand me — it’s just that it’s such a contrast.

Palm Springs was wonderful on January 8. Sitting outside at Starbucks, watching the population go by with Pomeranians on short leashes or maids supporting at the elbow, I could see its attractions. The breeze falling off Tahquitz Peak was so clear and clean I would have paid for it. The art museum was overrun by volunteer docents. The famous modernist houses we had come to see were interesting, when we could see over the oleander hedges. But the truth is that sand-storm rising out there in the desert, and the future is those wind turbines spinning like 100 cyclists out on the north side.

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