6/29/10

DOWNTOWN LA vs WISCONSIN: THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES.


BEEN DARTING AROUND THE CITY ALL WEEK LIKE MAYOR VILLARAIGOSA chasing a free lunch, so no post yesterday. It's a minor miracle that I post almost daily as it is. I'm not your average homebody blogger who smells a little too much like his own hand. I'm a busy man. Every weekday, I take time from work, meetings, recording, clipping my nails and persuading my girlfriend not to dump me to craft these literary nuggets, which according to Google Analytics, most readers typically skim for an average of thirteen seconds before realizing that Lady Gaga will not be mentioned and leaving. I've shirked my birthright as a rich Middle Eastern to entertain you for Facebook Thumbs. So yeah, fuck this blog. I had my Donald Trump shirt on yesterday and I was downtown, making money. My linens were swinging, I could've beheaded someone with the schoolboy bangs on my Clark Kent 'do, and I imagined my uncles nodding with approval through clouds of hookah smoke at the sight of their idiot boy, finally getting his hands dirty Downtown. But it ain't the Downtown I know.

In the early '90s, when I was a kid working at my uncle's wholesale clothing store on Los Angeles Street and 16th like every other Iranian kid whose fathers didn't take people to court for a living, Downtown L.A. was a necessary evil. You sold as many bundles of irregularly cut fluorescent T-shirts in a day as you could, you kept the back door bolted, and you made sure the store was locked and alarm-enabled and you were on the 10 by 5:45. My uncles were robbed at gunpoint almost routinely, normally somewhere between their stores and their homes, to the extent that I wouldn't even hear about the later instances until months after they happened. Occupational hazard.

Downtown L.A. looks like America now, and I still haven't gotten over it. People with freckles and/or very thin sweaters walk around toodle-loo like they can't get snatched into an alley and pistol-whipped to a whimpering pulp for looking like they might have a wallet. And they probably can't, thanks to to the quintillions of cops and rent-a-cops constantly zipping about the area, presumably to protect LA's new residents from its old ones. Sometimes they meet at the Ralphs buffet, where I saw a disheveled elderly gentleman with a bulbous growth on his forehead, picking his couscous grain by grain with a look of extreme focus. It's still not uncommon to see very homeless people in very upscale stores, although they could be hipsters, as it's hard to tell them apart at times. Only Broadway, Skid Row, Superior Court and everything south of the 10 retains the pungent whiff of Old Downtown. While writing this, I left my laptop unattended in a downtown Starbucks twice to piss.

I would have applauded Downtown LA for fixing its problems. Instead it just moved its problems to the Inland Empire. The city of Corona thanks you.

Bamboo tonight! DJs Gogo and Spye on deck.


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