Wednesday. Chango. The place is lively at 11 a.m. It's like a stage set for the new age of sincerity/post-sincerity: on the walls hang small, straightforward paintings of iconic dead celebrities -- Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger, Sid Viscous etc. -- by T Berman, and, over the speakers, it's Michael Jackson on whatever album "Beat It" occurs. (And what happened to Royal Trux?) Behind the counter, punk rock scowls (read: sincerity) have been replaced by positive energy (read: sincerity). There's croissants, fruit and people working hard on laptops as well as behind the counter. None of the languor I once associated with bohemia. This is corporate headquarters! Nikki from the Silversun Pickups is hanging with her pals -- a toned-down group, more subdued than they used to be (typical conversation for some of the old crowd, not including Nikki: the boredom of threesomes; they're so old school). And there are new regulars. I eavesdropped on a conversation of theirs last week, and it was priceless and innocent: in the middle of a dialogue I was already listening to intently one of them breaks subject to ask "Do palm trees stop growing?" He's gazing in the direction of the bendy mop-topped palms on Echo Park Avenue. You have to wonder.
So, Wednesday I'm sitting outside with my friend Becky and my dog, Rosie. Talking doggie haircuts, etc. Becky says she was observing some young-twenty-something groovy-looking lovely women -- people you want to watch. She was wondering about them, saw them leave the cafe, go to a car with Nebraska plates and drive away. Angelenos people-watching Nebraskans, that's Chango, that's Wednesday. One generation watching another. Almost all of the ten or so sidewalk tables are occupied.
I learned about the windstorm as dirt flew into my face and the newspaper went aloft ... and like the new host of Chango regulars, I sat through it for well over an hour and a half because I was enjoying myself and didn't want to leave. When I got home I realized the magnitude of the wind: big umrella turned over, tree branches on the ground, bits of plastic bags blasted into the hydrangea. It seemed crazy that anyone would choose to relax in this.