I went to 7th and Wall, where the major flower mart is located. There were police cars everywhere.
“You could rob a bank and they wouldn’t come. They’re all down here buying for their wives and girlfriends,” said Gloria, a flower vendor who became my guide to the district. “Maybe even some girls on the street. It’s like this every year. Every year they come.”
“Plus, they caught the guy [Christopher Dorner], so they’re all happy,” she said.
Gloria and I started chatting about the benefits of Berkeley education, as she saw me wearing my BERKELEY sweatshirt. Her nephew graduated in astrophysics from the university 10 years ago.
Outside was a lunch truck called El Big Happy, wishing everyone Happy Valentine’s Day and advertising “L.A.’s Most Wanted Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog.” I hadn’t had breakfast, so I passed on the opportunity.
Gloria’s been selling flowers longer than that. Flowers are the ultimate non-economic barometer. Doesn’t matter how bad things are, she said, “people always spend that last little money they have” on flowers for their honeybunches. Mother’s Day, the Virgin of Guadalupe Day (december 12) and Valentine’s Day — the three dates no vendor in the Flower District ever calls in sick.
Gloria had already virtually sold out, she said. All her red roses were gone yesterday.
Gives you some hope for love in this jaundiced, media-drenched age.