Monday, June 26, 2006
Hustlers, Sellers, and Beggars
Today was the end of a beautiful weekend, especially with respect to what's going on with the literary career aka "book stuff" as I affectionately love to call it.. *smile* I had a beautiful time chatting with the PWOC Bookclub. A special wink and a smile goes out to Nellie and Toni B. for allowing me to speak with them via my publicist Marlive Harris' new fangle conference call system.. Ha haa.. It was a blast... A beautiful time... And then after all that was done, I decided to get out of the house!! Whew.. Despite the fun with the book stuff, I do love to be outside soaking up experience after experience. Its been much too hot to be couped up inside... So, as I always do, I hit the streets! I didn't have much time to enjoy the sun. Maybe an hour and a half left of sunlight that quickly faded into LA darkness. That time when a whole nother vibe comes upon the city and everything looks and feels...different..
One thing that I noticed tonight more than anything else was the amount of people on the streets and in cafe patio areas trying to get something. Trying to get paid, I suppose.. Hustlers were out and about like crazy.. One street had so much prostitute action you'd think they were giving away some kind of buy one and we'll let you have another nut on the house, so to speak. Ladies lined up on the corner and traffic at a stand still as car after car blocked the street trying to get at these ladies.. Took about fifteen minutes to get through that block which would normally take a blink of an eye to drive past on a normal night. And around the corner there was a police officer writing a traffic ticket that made me say, hmmm... Then I took a left headed down Slauson, all the way until I got to La Brea. Took another left and headed to the infamous Ladera Center to treat myself to a delicious white chocolate mocha; my favorite hot Starbucks drink that I haven't had in a couple weeks now. As I'm sitting in the cafe area, a young child no more than five or six years old walked up to me with a box of butterfingers asking if I wanted to buy one for a dollar. Mind you, she didn't look like she was selling it for her school and she appeared to be alone although I figure her parent was somewhere in the vicinity waiting for her to bring back whatever money she made. This is a little past 10:30 at night and a little kid is out selling candy to grown folks? Something wasn't right about that but on this night like I said, everybody was out trying to get something; trying to get paid.
I didn't stay out that late. I wanted to get back home and write down a few thoughts and situations for future characters to explore. I stopped by the gas station before heading home and was approached by several that wanted money. One guy looked so messed up and could barely speak but he knew how to squeeze out what sounded like "can you spare change?" Another guy approached wanting to pump my gas for some change in return. Another guy had CD's for sale. Them CD selling dudes be showing up everywhere these days.. I've encountered them at the mall, at the movie theater, the gas station, the liquor store, the stripclub, in traffic trailing behind the incense seller, the muslim selling bean pies, and the young revolutionaries dressed in fatigues asking for donations. Everybody's hustling, selling, and begging.. Nothing is for free, huh? Well, I saw this young lady waiting on the bus. I turned down my music and said "hey, I wanna give you this book, you mind?" She asked if she had to pay me for it and I told her, no. I said, "if you love it, tell somebody about it..." Her face lit up as she said "wow, are you serious? Thank you.." I drove off with a smile that matched hers. It was a great feeling to be responsible for giving somebody something good to feel about. Wasn't no hustling involved in that. Just pure sincerity though I definitely understand and feel for those who must hustle every second just to get by. This town is a shining example of hustle mania gone wild...