Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Homeless in Culver City
I have the good fortune of living about a mile and half away from the tortuous stairs at the Baldwin Park Scenic Overlook. These stairs were made famous by the Apple ad that can be seen here.
I love these stairs, not only for the aerobic workout, but for the quiet and solitude one can find at the top and on the back trails on the way down.
The other day I grabbed a water bottle and set out for the Overlook.
About 1/4 mile into my walk I noticed my shorts were slipping. I like to think it's because I'm shedding a few pounds but it's more than likely that I bought the wrong shorts.
I knew the rest of the walk wouldn't go well if I didn't find a way to hitch up my pants. So I did what any fan of shows like Survivorman, Life Below Zero, and Naked and Afraid, would do, I turned to Mother Nature.
I spotted a bush covered in solanum jasminoides, white potato vine, which is indigenous to California.
I pinched off a couple of yards of vine and made me way to an alcove in front of one of the industrial businesses along Jefferson Blvd. I carefully pruned the vine of it leaves and vinelets and then started threading it through the loops in my shorts.
I wasn't going for that whole "connected to the land" feeling, I just didn't want my thighs to chafe.
As I was fashioning the belt, two older African American woman emerged from the building.
My do-it-yourself habberdashering caught their immediate attention. They didn't avert their eyes. And they didn't hide their misguided assumptions.
(please excuse the politically incorrect intonations, I believe it makes the story funnier)
"Letitia was telling me she came out of her office in Santa Monica and there was some bum sleeping in the doorway."
"What she do?"
"She told him, 'you can't be sleeping here.'"
"Then she be like on the phone making like she be calling the po-po."
"That man best be moving."
"Oh he did. He move fast."
There was no mistaking it.
They had mistaken me for a homeless man.
I could have pointed out my $120 Asics running shoes. Or the expensive gold wedding ring. Or the designer water bottle my wife is fond of purchasing. Or I could have taken out my iPhone and shown them a picture of the obscenely overpriced home owned by this homeless man. And the bank.
But I decided against all that and let them go on their way with their preconceptions.
And I went on my way. Thanks to my non-sagging shorts, I reached the top of the stairs in record time.
When I returned home, my wife took one look at me, now sweaty and even more disheveled, she spotted my potato vine belt and said…
"Look at you. You look like a homeless person."