Two Hollywoods, One Wheel

He stole my phone when I was kissing him!
The guy in the pink tank top?
Bitch, I knew he was going to do that.
Why didn’t you say anything?
Would you have listened? You were too busy eating his mustache.  

True Sunday story, right here. One can’t say they weren’t warned. Signs over the bar warned of cell phone pickpockets like it was Dickensian London, but with glitter.  In WeHo, the young pretty things boldly exploit middle-aged longing, the middle-aged dangle free drinks to pretty young things doubled up in rooms in Van Nuys,  and there’s a great drag show to distract us from all the Darwinian undertow.

At the other end of CicLAvia, there’s this post-Dickensian tableau. Only one tourist bothers to look.  Others step around her like she was topiary and figure out where the restaurant is.  No literary genius will immortalize the addict in the sleeping bag.  She’s part of the shrubbery now.

The city will not allow you to use a plastic straw but will defend the right to camp on the sidewalk like it was God’s commandment.   Don’t Normalize Trump, we shriek, but oh how we’ve normalized this.

After a lovely CicLAvian day from Vermont to San Vicente and back, I biked back to the Valley, three cocktails deep and sweaty. Small civic detail: there is no bike lane in the Cahuenga Pass.  None.   So right at the point where Cahuenga becomes a freeway alternative and cars accelerate accordingly, one is shunted into the gutter.  A dozen rotations of the pedals later, I hear this fsssssss…. and being in a happy frame of mind decided, oh, this must be some feral creature, some urban fauna lurking in the shrubbery, warning me away from his domain.  I’m communing with nature. How loverly! It wouldn’t be a flat tire. Not in under a minute.  Not me. I did the right thing. I didn’t park in the city.  I’m one of the good ones! 

Guess who pushed his bike back over the Pass, cars nipping at his elbow the whole way?  You’d think there’d be a bike path by now. Didn’t we pass a sales tax? Twice?

You can pretend for an afternoon, but the First Law of the City remains unchallenged: the car is king.   To believe otherwise is one of the 23 Lies we tell ourselves about LA.

5 thoughts on “Two Hollywoods, One Wheel”

  1. Or get those hard plastic inserts that acts as a shield between your tube and the inner tire. I moved to Denver and after every ride I was getting flats. Went into a bike shop, explained my problem and the guy sez “You must be new here….” LOL……Turns out there was this especially sharp thistle-type weed that was common to the area. Bought the inserts, Problem Solved. They also protect against glass and a lot of other typical street trash. I assume they also protect against objects that were relatively unknown a couple short decades ago, such as the dreaded Hypodermicus Needleum Americanus.

  2. But more importantly – now that bike repair and other annoyances is out of the way – to address the theme. The person in the sleeping bag? On the H’wood Blvd sidewalk? In the middle of the day? That’s not “tragic”. No one should get “the sads”.

    That’s nothing less than a complete abdication of civic order. Everyone in City Hall is to blame, including any and all enablers, including most of the voting public. I would say nothing will change until we get our very own Howard Beale…….but I don’t see any Howards on the horizon yet.

  3. Jay Dee, I concur on the point of voter responsibility. It would help if there was someone willing to run for office as a Real Talker, but there hasn’t been a viable non-machine candidate to run and win in LA since Ruth Galanter in 1987, and that was a special election in which she was nearly murdered two weeks before ballots were cast. I happen to think LA is much more politically centrist than credited. The ever leftward ratchet of a one-party city has placed the Counsel, the Mayor, and the Times way, way beyond where most Angelenos are. People, in the aggregate, are reasonable. They want functionality. Order. Minimum standards of decency. The right person could run and win any office with a coherent plan premised on the above picture.

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