Walking in LA 5/29/10

Out the door my goal was to get a lemon popsicle. I knew they only sell lime. A Latin couple walked by. It made me think about how I don’t see white people in this neighborhood.

I walked to the bodega and bought a bubblegum popsicle. They didn’t have lemon.

I spoke the first two sentences in Spanish, then asked in English what Kevin Bacon movie the store’s owner was watching.

He didn’t know, but it was good.

I walked to the light. I crossed the street to the east because that corner had a trash can. I threw my wrapper into the receptacle. At that moment a beaten up Trailblazer pulled up and deposited the contents of a Yoshinoya bag into the garbage.

I wondered if Yoshinoyas are common in this neighborhood because Latinos like Japanese beef bowls.

Across the street I noticed the nursery that sells ceramic pots was open. It was the first time I’d seen anybody inside.

I walked in front of the McDonald’s and thought about all the people who live in this neighborhood that feel guilty about going there. I wondered if more people feel guilty about eating that food because it is unhealthy, or because it’s food for “poor people.”

Dozens of fliers for raves were strewn beneath the Elliott Smith memorial wall.

I jaywalked across the intersection. I passed an expensive coffee shop. A black busker was playing the saxophone. I smiled at him. He asked if I could spare change. I didn’t have any change.

I passed an upscale vegan restaurant. I wondered how guilty those people would feel if they were spotted at the McDonald’s.

Across the street a white homeless man in a wide-brimmed hat was wearing a soccer jersey, with a flannel tied around his waist.

I walked up a steep hill. I said “hello” as old people passed by. They were receptive. I pretended that they were taken back to a simpler time, when people regularly greeted each other on the street. Maybe that time never existed.

It made me think about possible futures where being friendly to everyone could exist. I started to think about our bankrupt culture.

I internally ranted about how we should create a culture based solely on passion. No jobs, just people doing the things they are passionate about. Chores would be shared.

I used the word ‘bankrupt’ again. I was disappointed by the repetition, and stopped thinking about utopias.

I checked out the familiar rummage sales in the blocks surrounding the city college. I bought a heavy metal distortion pedal from an abuelita.

I wanted to see what building that pitched roof was. I passed a gang of skateboarders carrying a fluorescent light bulb.

An tamale vendor glared at me when I didn’t want to buy his product. A kid on the street said “sup bro.”

Gang tags were written onto six-foot-high stoops. I thought this neighborhood would make me feel uncomfortable if it were dark. I wondered if the artists living on the corner felt the same way. Or if my fear was overly hyped. Maybe I’d be welcomed into a gang.

Asian girls wearing second-hand Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirts crossed the street. I thought about the variety of customers at thrift stores.

Across the street five chicks pecked at bird seed. That’s urban farming out of necessity.

The Ukrainian convalescent home looked like a decent place to live if you were old and could speak the language.

Around the corner I watched  a group of men ride a motorcycle into the bed of a truck.

If you walk around my neighborhood, you’ll see a lot of things.


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