Sunday, September 12, 2004


Like I said, I live in L.A. The sun shines all the time, the people look like movie stars except when they’re looking like character actors and a lot of the neighborhoods have those cute little California Arts and Crafts houses on cute little streets lined with jacaranda trees that drop cute little lavender petals on the pavement below. The town just screams Nice, Nice, Nicey Nice - that is if you don't look too close. To keep that image going, Hollywood has been under construction for the last twenty years in an attempt to rid itself of the seedy appearance and the even seedier inhabitants that exist between the imaginary boundaries of celluloid and degradation that truly define Home Sweet Home. The enormous population of the real underground Hollywood dweller rears its ugly head just in time to frighten the tourists; like flea season in the summertime. The child prostitutes, the He-Shes on Santa Monica and Vine, the pimps holding meetings at All American Burger, the insane who will follow you screaming at the top of their lungs, the aggressive pan-handlers who don’t take no for an answer. There’s no escape to it. Those city counsel types keep trying though. The construction is all about returning Hollywood to the original illusion we read about or saw in the movies as far back as the early “Talkies.” They even brought back Schwab’s Drug Store. Like a movie set however, L.A. is a city built on illusion. The illusion built of decades of tinsel, gold lame, latex masks, cigarette smoke and smog. A city where your best friend would stab you in the back to get your spot in the dressing room with a single card credit, smile and recite a monologue from “Our Town” while doing it. A city where vice rules and prohibition waltzes in 3-4 time around it. A city where the entitled are in charge, the bus boys are invisible and if they jack up the rents as far as possible, maybe the fleas will take up residence somewhere where the tourists won’t feel the need to scratch. A city where if you say “Good Morning,” you are met with the frightened stare of that unsuspecting passerby who was on the receiving end of your polite greeting and doesn’t know quite what to do.

That happened this morning. It was right after one of my caffeine induced, cheery greetings to one of the locals in my neighborhood that I witnessed that frightened stare. I’d seen it before. The suddenly widened eyes, the paling of the skin with the anxious blush on the top of the cheeks, followed quickly by the lowering of the head with the inaudible mumble as they rushed passed me to their destination. Church maybe. For some reason though, this time it got me curious. What would happen if the guy muttering to himself really had something to be frightened of. I decided to conduct an experiment. My experiment would of course involve my following the aforementioned victim of my morning salutation. It would further involve inflicting various forms of courtesy upon the object of my attentions throughout the day. I was entering into dangerous territory, but my heart was beating and I’d never felt quite so alive. I would have to be very, very careful. What I was about to do might be mistakenly interpreted as Stalking. There are strict laws about that here. They say however, that you are really no one in this town until you've had a stalker. Under those terms, I was about to make this guy's day.

To be continued...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm giggling. I can't wait to hear about the results of your stalking, or how your victim held up under the torture of polite salutations. This is gonna be good.


12 September, 2004 15:39  

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