The Glass Lady of Los Angeles

She captures in fisheye everyone’s faces; their quick strides and impatient toe-taps. A permanent fixture at the LAX Hilton Hotel, the glass lady sees—magnified in a hundred ways—the joys of family reunification after years of spread. In the partitioned lobby there’s a sound of elation from a call getting through to 3,000 miles away: “I’m here, mom, and I’m OK.”

A Lufthansa flight crew is held over for two days and they’re happy about it. They stand together in smart uniform, waiting for the captain’s go-ahead to proceed to their floor for some rest before they cover the city as “civilians”.

Overhead, the glass lady of Los Angeles re-interprets all the hotel’s available sounds and light. Some say she’s more than just a fancy chandelier; it’s said that her crystal structure vibrates at a single frequency, assuaging worry and amplifying the positive charge picked up from throngs of world travelers.

The glass lady sees a woman rushing from the elevators to the sliding doors leading to West Century Boulevard. Gwen is a flight attendant on a free day—this is her 28th year with the airline. She is anxious to catch the 9:10 AM Ocean Express shuttle to Macy’s; she wants to buy a nice pair of sandals for a party tonight.

Gwen’s quick steps are reflected in each of the dozens of baseball-sized globes that hang in perfection overhead. As such, she’s virtually picked up and carried on her way.

The glass lady of Los Angeles knows nothing of the future and her surfaces can’t hold the past, not even a second of it. Gwen caught the bus but that fact is never perceived—nor is it missed. The lady in the lobby can’t retain. She’s all reflection and no absorption. She’s pledged to the present, dusted for the here and now, built to redirect a charmed variation of the light and vibration she’s exposed to.

How lucky she is.


Ara Hagopian’s latest book is


About Ara Hagopian's The LITERATE Show

For over thirty years, I have enjoyed drawing beautiful shapes and writing complementary stories. The imagery tends to focus on our place in the world—whomever or whatever we may be. I am influenced by Twentieth Century history—I read vintage magazines, books and letters. Inspiration comes from visualizing human achievement and personal interaction—derived from people, places and things which may be obscure, but never insignificant. My pen-and-ink THE MAGNIFICENT RECOVERY was selected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for their 2008 summer art auction.
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