This was Greater Los Angeles in an age of change, crackling with the energy of doom, yearning for the Apocalypse, where an unintended slight or an inadvertent trespass on someone else’s turf might result in a thermonuclear response.

People existed, however, who believed that closet racist were everywhere around them. They needed to believe this in order to have prupose and meaning in their lives, and to have someone to hate.

Good fences make good neighbors, and these were apparently good enough that they had not felt the need for razor wire at the top. I crested the fence, threw myself into the yard beyond, fell, rolled to my feet, and ran with the expectation of being garroted by a taut clothesline.

I heard panting, looked down, and saw a gold retriever running at my side, ears flapping. The dog glanced up at me tongue rolling, grinning, as though jazzed by the prospect of an unscheduled play session.

We must have our goals, our dreams, and we must strive for them. We are not gods, however; we do not have the power to shape every aspect of the future. And the road the world makes for us is one that teaches humility if we are willing to learn.

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