Ah, North Hollywood. The place I call home.
It's nice enough. I like it. But that's the extent of my praise for this little hood o' mine. It's no paradise. It's no Bel-Air. It's no Malibu.
Yet there must be some brilliant real estate moguls out there with extensive reality-skewing skills because developers are buying up property all over North Hollywood, convinced that it's the next big thing.
Look, I really do hope it is as cool as they think it's going to be. But I'm doubtful.
So between now and a few years from now, when everyone realizes the new condos they built were a huge waste of money, I have to suffer, as my street has been turned into one giant construction site.
This began months ago, when three small houses adjacent to our courtyard were sold to real estate developers. The people who lived in them, whoever they were, must have been paid some good chunk of cash to go elsewhere.
And then the houses sat abandoned for months. With their residents gone, there was no one to feed Los Gatos Locos, the gang of feral cats that live in the front yards and under the cars of that section of the block. I worried they'd starve before they had the sense to move on to another area. But I clearly underestimated these cats, for they somehow managed to multiply and grow bigger and stronger.
Also, homeless people found their way inside of the empty houses, as evidenced by the row of shopping carts parked in the driveways like so many cars.
A few more months passed, and the abandoned houses were finally torn down. Slowly. For days at a time, heaps of wood and partially dismantled structures sat there, looking hideous. Then it rained for a while. It turns out that wet, old, rotting wood and insulation smell terrible.
By the time spring rolled around, the houses were totally removed from that lot. Somehow, in the midst of all this destruction, they'd even managed to displace Los Gatos Locos.
Ah, finally, just plain dirt. A smooth field of it, with a huge heap at one end.
I was sure to enjoy this reprieve from construction and all manner of dinosaur-like vehicles digging around just over the wall. I thought the Dirt period would be brief. And that in a matter of days, building would commence, and for months we'd have to listen to hammers and drills and saws buzzing around. All ending with a 5-story structure that would block the sunlight from our courtyard and kill all of the plants within its four walls.
Well, I was very wrong. Since the spring, nothing has happened. Nothing but dirt.
Los Gatos Locos returned. From the second floor of my building you can see them laying in the field of dirt. 10 or 15 gray blobs clustered together, lounging in the sun.
I haven't even seen any workers coming by. No men with shirts and ties, holding out blue prints in front of them and making arrangements. Indeed, no sign that there will ever be anything but dirt and cats in that lot.
That is, until 3 days ago, when I finally spotted a sign of life. A man standing on top of the heap of dirt--a heap about two stories high --wearing one of those day-glow orange construction vests. He worked alone. And he was, apparently, watering the dirt. Just waving the hose around, on a mission I don't understand.
The next morning, he was back on top of that heap. Watering away.
It was then that I realized perhaps all of this construction, this odd project that's taken place gradually over the course of a year, is not to build condos at all. But rather, to create room for some great tree about to grow from this dirt pile.