National Geographic : 1979 Jan
So we have to plan with that in mind." A more compelling consideration to be made in planning for this city is the problem of too many cars and too much pollution. On some days the problem rears up like a dis turbed dragon, spewing a foul, fiery breath. On a day, for example, like that Thursday when the old man played the harmonica while driving on the Hollywood Freeway. From the time it came up that day, the sun was but a cataractous eye, a reddish smear in the smog. By midmorning the air was like mustard gas. Nothing stirred up there. As the day aged, it became worse. Around five o'clock, Los Angeles lay etherized under a layer of smog so thick and noxious that even those with healthy hearts and lungs were cautioned to stay indoors. At that time, too, the traffic on the Holly wood Freeway was backed up for many miles. The vehicles moved all right, but in ten-mile-an-hour spurts. Motorcycles weaved through the lanes, setting off fits of barking by dogs in pickup trucks. There were accidents, and cars overheated and stalled. Those that continued to run fed that yellowish monster hovering overhead. I traveled less than ten miles on that free way, and it took an hour. As I neared the exit ramp, the traffic was once again stopped. It was then that I saw him, the old man. He pulled his car alongside mine, and when I looked over, I saw that there was a harmoni ca held in front of his mouth by means of a metal support worn around his neck. Then, with both hands still on the wheel of his car, he started to play, cheeks puffed like the gular pouch of a male frigatebird. "What's that you're playing?" I yelled. "The harmonica."