“This chapter showed Jameson from outside – as seen from inside a limo on his motorcycle. He gets into a conversation with a man in the limousine, which begins as typical road rage. Before you know it, the conversation becomes metaphysical and represents two entirely different views of the city and the streets. Jameson rode with an ear-piece and microphone, and the audience heard him through the car speakers thanks to Sennheiser antennae mounted to the car.
“Hell is the place where nothing connects with nothing.”
“Jameson gives voice in this chapter to those who consider LA alienating and the detachment of driving impossibly lonely. I think all of us, even those of us who love Los Angeles, struggle with that potential experience of the city. ‘Hell is the place where nothing connects with nothing,’ Jameson quotes; Los Angeles can appear that way to some who feel lost in the city’s sprawl and its decentralized organization. In this way, too, the chapter brought Hell out of the realm of the Orpheus myth and directly into the reality of the characters. The man in the limo responds to Jameson’s nihilism with a quote from Milton: ‘The mind may make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.’ In other words, making Los Angeles a Hell is just as much a question of our perception as it is a judgment of reality.
“At the very end Jameson throws the man in the limo the red notebook. The man in the limo starts reading, puzzled by the fragments of thoughts that make up Jameson’s desperate musings. The ‘book toss’ was so convincingly done by Stephen and Peter that most people believed it was real (spoiler: it wasn’t).
“This was one of the last chapters written for Hopscotch, and it came about when I realized that many of the chapters brought us into a close psychological proximity to the characters, but there were very few of them where the car was the barrier to our closeness. This whole scene became about a debate on whether cars connect us or isolate us. Jameson speaks to the streets as a chaotic jumble, the man in the limo considering the streets pathways of connection. I think both are right.”
California has not had a day without a traffic fatality since September 12, 2000.