Wednesday, July 27, 2011

No. 4: I Hate LA because...(Muses)

Angelenos are apathetic to the homeless.

Up until last year, I had only heard of the famous Los Angeles Skid Row and I came upon it accidentally on my way to a rave (don’t ask). My friends and I had to walk 15 blocks across downtown LA (don’t ask) to get to the rave. We walked and walked and walked and suddenly tents started to appear on the sidewalk. Holy shit. One thought and one thought only took over my brain: I will never complain about anything ever again. Then we walked by a shelter or mission, as that one was called. It was full and they were turning people away. I thought, “Wow, I was really short changed in the human being department. Why wasn’t I born one of those people working in there and dedicating their life to help the unfortunate? Such work is infinitely more significant than texting aid to the Red Cross. Fuck you God.” Then, I just thought, “I’m going to a fucking rave I didn’t want to go to in the first place, my heels are killing me and I’m sleepy and hungry.” I longed for my fluffy, cozy bed.

I’ve always been fascinated and intrigued by the homeless and I’ve had many interesting (and sometimes funny) encounters with people living on the streets. They have become my muses.  I love to observe them because they do really interesting stuff that is far removed from daily superficiality. During my runs, I try to take routes where I know I’m going to come across them. It seems I’m looking for life as performance; a sort of ongoing live documentary because I believe the meaning of life is found within these fleeting moments.

The underpass under the bridge is becoming populated.* I call it "Silverlake Hotel." Every evening I notice more tenants, more carts, and, furniture. Yes, furniture; armchairs, mattresses even a broken dresser. Last night was particularly fascinating. Along with the lounging men, there were two emaciated blond women smearing foundation on their leathery faces. They did not look any different than any ordinary woman applying make up getting ready for a night on the town. I slowed down, trying to make up my mind whether to stop or not. I wanted so much to ask them questions. But I didn’t. I just kept on running.

I’ve thought about taking a camera on my run, but I change my mind at the last minute. I’m not sure if what I see should be photographed, even though I am dying to document it. Besides, no one but me cares about this and how I perceive life. Still, I want to hang on to these images. It seems they’re worth something.

*Note: I took these photos last week on a walk with my dog.

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