Saturday, May 16, 2009

What "I" Saw on the Street: Apartment Hunting

First, I put "I" in quotes because this first picture is actually what Google "saw." I love it when the Google Camera is in front of a large object so that whatever it was you were looking for is not visible. Not even from the robo-satellites that are apparently photographing the entire planet.

here's the house I live in now.

Even from space you can see that it's a four lane, divided road, that yes, is the fire/police/wailing siren corridor. See why I'm trying to move?

And here is a house that someone else wanted me to move into. And when I say "house," what I really mean is garage.
When I asked the landlady who had lived here before, what I really meant was "who died to vacate the place for me?" She was very enthused to tell me that her mother had lived there. Now that's love. No, her mother didn't die (she only WISHED she had), she moved in with another daughter. A daughter (I'm guessing) with no spare cellar, garage, or closet to put her. The landlady was proud to show off the new appliances (they really were new, she scored points there). But the bedroom was the size of a cell, hard-tiled on the floor, with one small window. Well, really, it was a ventilation grid. The bathroom was equally dark, and I only ventured to put my head through the doorway in case maybe there was an automatically locking door and she was planning to keep me there as an unwilling domestic.

"The last girl was here two years," she exclaimed. 'And then the pneumonia set in?' I thought. Then the landlady then showed me the best feature of all. When you want to lose the view of the cars in the driveway and just get away from all the fresh air and sunlight, just click the garage door button the side of the wall.

Down rolls the automatic door, each segmented panel lurching quietly into place until the white, aluminum wall slams like a whisper into the coarse brickwork of the driveway...brickwork which is your kitchen floor. Perfect for stubbing your toe on a Sunday morning.

I began to wonder if I had any enemies I could send the listing to. "Christian" teachers who had beaten with a ruler in school. Bullies who'd made my life hell. And then I came up with the perfect tenant. Bernie Madoff. He'd love the savings. And the TB, it's totally free!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What I Saw On the Street: Box Man

I'm starting a new blog feature that I call "What I Saw on the Street". Whether it's stainless steel "balls" hanging from the back of a trailer hitch, or a man with a box on his head on Hollywood Boulevard...there is no predicting what you'll see on city streets here in LA. Because I'm using my cell phone for most of the shots, they may have a slightly Bigfoot Tabloid 1973 quality, but I really think that adds to the whole look. 

Driving through town the other day, I indeed saw this man on H0llywood Boulevard with a box on his head. He was homeless, and had a beggar's cup out. Whether he knew if he got any money, I'm not sure, since the bag seemed to block most of his view. But one thing is for sure, every time I see a homeless person, it puts my problems in perspective. Some of you might have a bum here or there, or maybe a town drunk. LA has a population numbering in the thousands (the country's largest. See, LA can boast about lots of things!). There is even something called the Mission District. Not the toni section of San Francisco, it's where the missions are. As in prayer and soup kitchens and priests tending to the down-n-out. 

It's easy to think, 'eh, things aren't going THAT well.' But when you pass someone laying in their own decayed filth, it really makes a ride in your 1994 Geo Metro feel like you're driving a Rolls Royce. So chin-up, look on the bright side, and be glad that despite your problems, you're not panhandling on Hollywood Boulevard with a box on your head.

Now get back to your books!