Airline workers living in trailers on a parking lot near LAX
September 10, 2016 6:38 AM   Subscribe

Vimes Short documentary on an airport parking lot in Los Angeles, where pilots, mechanics and flight attendant live in trailers. Feels like a J. G. Ballard novel.
posted by klischka (15 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
The emphasis on loneliness is weird. Would people who travel all the time and come home to small efficiency apartments without roommates be seen as outsiders in the way that these people are? It seems likely to me that they probably have more community living there among other people who understand their work obligations than they would if they were spread out over crappy apartment buildings all over LA not getting to know their neighbours at all.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:16 AM on September 10, 2016 [7 favorites]

That was curiously ... unenlightening. In another article about this film I read that many of the trailers were scattered around various LAX parking lots before management consolidated the permanent residents at Lot B. The basic reason for living in the parking lot would seem kind of obvious; they don't have to commute in LA traffic, which can be brutally unpredictable even in the middle of the night. If you are commuting to make a flight and you can't be late that requires giving yourself even more time in case there's a mishap on the road. I'd guess Lot B saves its residents quite a bit of time and money. I wish the video had gone more into that kind of practical background. How much time does it save? How much does it cost, versus renting an apartment? What do the Lot B residents do for shopping and entertainment? Do all of them own cars too or are there other ways of coping? Sure, we get it, when all of your neighbors come and go at weird hours and bright lights turn the night into day, it's going to make for a weird environment, but it would have been interesting to see what attracts people to it and how it affects them in other ways.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:42 AM on September 10, 2016 [11 favorites]

I was wondering about security, especially for the women living there. There must be some sort of hightened gatekeeping being done where only airline employees are allowed into the lot. It can't possibly be open to regular long-term parking as well. Otherwise, a bunch of empty RVs would seem ripe for picking, or worse.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:51 AM on September 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I saw this a few days ago and it irked me a little bit. It felt dishonest to me. Dishonest in that it forced an interpretation of the emotions of the people in it. An interpretation that leaned heavily towards alienated loneliness and denial. Somber music and held back tears, it feels like a shallow shortcut that runs away from complexity. I know, shortness of time, its an OP-doc etc, but it is a little patronizing??? (I don't really know what the right word is.)
posted by Pembquist at 8:02 AM on September 10, 2016 [4 favorites]

I agree, Pembquist, I definitely feel like the person making the film had a story they wanted to tell and they forced that narrative to happen. Maybe that's the story the people also wanted to tell, but it didn't seem like it -- everything about it felt really manipulated.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:24 AM on September 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

The sentimentality of the piece really stuck out at me, but yeah, this felt a little like emotional gawking. Effective, but gawking.

Also, weird to see my office in the background and I never knew this lot existed like this. It's right at the end of the LAX runways. (Office is visible from one of the shots of the guy standing along the fence looking wistfully. Big blue orb on the side of the building)
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:10 AM on September 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

i don't know for nothing, but living in a RV camp at the airport strikes me as alienating and alienated, almost by definition. sure you can make lemonade out of it, but still... i mean, living in a unit in mountain view is also alienating but there's a lot more choice involved in that lifestyle than "choosing" to live at the airport because of the commute or whatever.
posted by at 9:42 AM on September 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't think I'm part of the intended audience. Compared to living in a travel trailer near a construction site for a month or two then moving on to the next one or in the sleeper of a OTR semi going from truck stop to truck stop, that seems pretty good.
posted by ridgerunner at 10:56 AM on September 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

I was not surprised to discover the director, Lance Oppenheim, is currently a sophomore in college. I'm sure he'll get an A for this, but maybe it's not quite ready for the New York Times.
posted by incessant at 11:29 AM on September 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Two things struck me:
1: That seems like a spacious trailer.
2. If you're job is flying planes, and your hobby is flying simulated RC planes, living in a makeshift community of somewhat like minded people surrounded by it all doesn't sound that awful. Not for me, certainly, but, yah, I know people with worse situations.
posted by lkc at 6:24 PM on September 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Sounds like they're basically boondocking. Wonder where they dump their gray/black water?
posted by BurntHombre at 6:52 PM on September 10, 2016

I didn't like it either for the same reasons listed. I wonder if the director cherry-picked their subjects. Venice beach is right next door... they are not that physically isolated.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:50 PM on September 10, 2016

I thought that was an interesting little slice of life.
posted by bongo_x at 9:41 PM on September 10, 2016

It's airline industry. It's part of the gig; certain personalities gravitate to it, some grow out of it and switch to office jobs in the industry, some don't. It's not tragic, just different.
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:56 PM on September 10, 2016

I think a lot about how tech people imagine a world where there's no work to do.

No. There's just no work people want to pay for.
posted by effugas at 12:25 AM on September 12, 2016

« Older All Black Everything   |   Gewgaws, Knickknacks, Tchotchkes, etc. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments