Day two of LA, and today I went out walking on Venice beach all by my lonesome, and without even paying attention I saw some really strange stuff that I’d love to talk about. I didn’t have a camera so you’ll have to use your imagination. And for those of you from LA this will probably sound totally normal, as normal as seaside freak shows, drunk rollerbladers playing electric guitars, and potleaf lea-wearing hippies offering two for one deals on medical marijuana cards can possibly sound. The crowd was large, strolling and roving on feet and bikes, aimless except for the belligerent CD pushers, volleyball games, kids on scooters, and a tattooed horde that (like the volleyballers) bounced up and down to a surprisingly heavy metal band on the beach. There was a limo driver in a creaseless suit leaning against a building texting, surrounded by a scantily clad girl talking to one of the picketers for “Jews For Jesus.” And one block down there was a man in a tree outfit on stilts, also leaning against the building like a moss-covered branch that occasional waved to pretty girls. There was a table of shirtless overweight men selling two-dollar jewelry in an “Everything must go!” sale, right next to an anti-circumcision booth fronted by a large picture of a baby flipping the bird above the caption, “Circumcise This.” Two kids ran by holding funnel cakes, shouting to their parents that the aforementioned freakshow allowed in kids under the age of 7 for free on Sundays, and there was an awkwardly unenthused man dancing outside a clothing store to get customers, although I think the Hustler shirts saying “Grind Now, F*** Later” probably did the trick. This is a weird place. On the way home, right after hearing an elderly female rollerblader spit curses at a family whose dog she nearly ran over, some nice car pulled up and a guy leaned out, lowered his sunglasses and said in a Spanish accent, “Did you see them?” I was startled, took off my headphones (I was the only guy wearing headphones, anyway, not like NY), and said “… Who?” “All the beautiful woooomeeen,” he said, gesturing behind us. Hunter S. Thompson said “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro,” and LA is clearly a city of professionals.
Special thanks to Carolyn Berry for providing the backdrop in which our LA experience has its meaning. And for the food and great company.