Each day we witness matters that mesh in our subconsciousness, swim around, merge and become ideas.Â Anyway, maybe that’s the way I think.Â Yesterday was difficult.
When I went to collect the mail at work yesterday morning, I noticed that the small bakery & cafe across the street was empty.Â I was not a frequent customer, but had a 13 year neighborhood relationship with the owner.Â Although a 4 lane street separates us on the 6000 block of Pico, we know each other and wave hello through the traffic and noise.Â We are a Jewish temple, a nightclub, a cafe, a new age store, a Yeshiva School, a home decor shop, an Indian grocery store, a Muslim cultural center, a beauty shop, a Gypsy psychic, a glass store, a hamburger stand and a cleaners.Â A typical block of mom & pop businesses in LA, with our neighborhood gossip, occasional fights, shared joys, emergency network,Â and 9-5 friendships.
Seeing the Petite Sara cafe and Mostly Angels new age store with for lease signs on them, Beverly Hills glass down to just Manuel as an employee, LA Burger bankrupt and sold to a new owner, Bradco (elegantly expensive) Bath store with a permanent “Display Sale” banner over the door— brought me such sadness yesterday.
The cosmos dealt me another hard hand last night when I saw a new HBO documentary “Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County” , about one of the most affluent and romanticized cities in California where there are numerous families who are homeless living 6 or more to a motel room.Â The particular motel in this film is directly across the streetÂ from Disneyland–“the happiest place on earth”.Â It seemed extremely cruel that right across the way children live with so much despair and emptiness.
The Director of Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County Alexandra Pelosi said â€œWhat people donâ€™t realize is that the recession made a lot more people homeless in America. This film could have been made in any zip code in America. Homeless is no longer what you thought it was. Itâ€™s not a mentally-ill drug addicted hobo begging for change on the street corner. Itâ€™s the people working at Wal-Mart, Disneyland, Home Depot â€“ working at minimum wage jobs across America.â€
I have seen the decay around for many years, the ineffectual public school system crumbling, walking over droves of homeless people in the garment district finding it hard to choose which to bestow a handful of change to, 5 twenty and thirty year-olds living in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment, more desperate men pawing at you for work at Home Depot each time I go,Â seniors financially unable to fix the plumbing in their home.Â Â I am not content with the justifications my mind and our leadership give me.Â Today–and here on LAeastside.comÂ I am officially noting that I am beat-down and feeling defeated.