So, here’s the story. In The Prada Paradox, the heroine is walking with her friend in Beverly Hills. This text is in the book:
I know it’s not cool to be in love with your town, but I really do love Los Angeles, and Beverly Hills most of all. I mean, there’s an island of tall trees right in the center of Wilshire. Clearly, this is a town concerned about aesthetics.
We reach the other side, and Lindy stops dead, making me (and a dozen or so shoppers) almost stumble over her. “What the—”
“Here,” she says, taking me by the arm. She turns us around so that we’re facing Wilshire again, right back the way we came.
“Hey! We haven’t even shopped yet.”
“Just read.” One elegant finger extends, indicating the Panic Button sign that someone has helpfully mounted where the standard “Push to Walk” should be. Total Crisis Panic Button, it says. For the standard white “walking man” symbol, you’re instructed to Start Running…Danger is Imminent! When the hand starts to flash, that means Don’t think! Stay fearful and alert! And when the red hand stays solid, you need to Obey Orders.
It’s a professional-looking sign, printed on thick metal and firmly attached with screws. In Beverly Hills, it seems, even the grafitti has style.
Why is it there? Because my wonderful friend who took pictures of Rodeo Drive for me saw it and thought it was such a hoot he sent a picture.I thought it was such a hoot it had to be included in the book.
So far, so good.
A fan emails me and asks I have a picture of the sign. Obligingly, I email one back.
And then months pass. One day, I get a package with no return address. I open it … and pull out The Sign. I have no idea who sent it, but can’t help but wonder if that curious fan went out to Rodeo Drive one night with a screwdriver and a flashlight …
Where’s the sign now? Hanging in my office above my desk. Seemed the appropriate place for a Total Crisis Panic sign.