05 November 2008

Bums on Admiralty Way

I am a part-time dog-walker.

It's a little hobby I took up while trying to bring some normalcy to my life in the rat race I like to call L.A. Why dogs? Well, I love them. But also because they can't talk back to me. They can't ride my bumper when I drive like a grandma. They can't honk at me. They aren't trying to make it in the entertainment industry, and they don't care what my body looks like - etc. etc. So anyway, that's what I do.

One of the dogs in particular, Winston - a 2 year old lab the size of a small bear - is one of the most obnoxious things I have ever had on the other end of a leash. I walk the dogs on Admiralty Way, which has a park running about a mile along the side of it. I go to this end because Winston lunges at other dogs, other people, babies and sometimes trees if their leaves are blowing in the wind, but for some reason, stays away from the homeless people. Not sure why. So I take Winston to one end of the park which I've come to lovingly name the "Homeless-man Corner" because all the "crazies" from Venice Beach flock to it during the day. I've had a few encounters which are worth blogging about:

Homeless Person Experience #1:
One of my first experiences happened the first week as I was walking Winston, and overheard an older homeless man yelling and cursing at a woman in a lime green pant suit. Yep, I said it. Lime green. I walked towards the couple, because I was a little nervous for the woman's safety - and if anything - I have a huge dog that looks a little intimidating. As I got closer, I heard what they were talking about, and the woman was yelling at the homeless man for smoking marijuana on the premises. I don't really blame her - but come on, we are in L.A. Everything smells like weed. They went back and forth at this for a few minutes (with me standing close by, with Winston ready to lunge) before ANOTHER homeless man came up to homeless man #1 and began yelling at him, and telling him, "You can't talk to women that way, #*$(#*@** (left out due to possible younger readers)" The conversation got even more heated when homeless man #2 picked up a hockey stick (which I assume he uses as a closet - because it was wrapped in clothes) and threatened to hit him with it. "You better start moving, or I'll do it, I promise," he said. As homeless man #1 turned his back to walk away while flipping them off, homeless man #2, ran after him and started beating him with the hockey stick. I stood there in shock, not really knowing what to do, but I'm sure I would have stepped in if the security from the condo building next to us didn't come out and stop the hockey stick beating. I'm sure of it.

Homeless Person Experience #2:
This next experience is a continuous one. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, if I'm lucky and arrive at around noon, the same man will ride his beach cruiser down the bike path. Like out a scene of Rocky - he looks like Sylvester Stalone, and is about 300 lbs of muscle, tan and shirtless, wearing shorts the size of my underwear - will ride slowly down the path, stop in the same place everyday and stop to do pushups and pull-ups. Once he gets back on the bike, he will continue down the path, yelling..."Where is she? Where is she?"...."Rhonda! Where is she?" I'm not exaggerating any of this by the way. Same place everyday. Now, being a student studying psychology and therapy, this man would be a dream to psychoanalyze. If only I could catch up with him after his workout....

Homeless Person Experience #3:
My next experience happened just last week, when a homeless man, who looked pretty healthy and normal, but just a little down on his luck, stopped me to talk about Winston. He admired how sweet Winston looked (I've been training him the last couple weeks to not leap on everything that moves - Progress!), and asked if I had been keeping up with the election. We talked about politics and voting for a few minutes before I told him I had to be on my way. We said goodbye, and as I walked away, he yelled back at me, "Remember, it's not what's inside of you, but what you do that defines you!" Hmm...I smiled and continued walking. "That's nice, I thought. And he's right." But still, as I was walking I kept replaying what he said in my mind, and I couldn't help but think that it sounded strangely familiar. The rest of the day, I kept thinking about what he said, until that night while watching Batman Begins, I heard the same line. Stolen from a movie. But still true. 


The Dumas Family said...

Those are funny stories - I'm glad you shared. Now it can be said, "kids and homeless people say the darndest things."

Amy and Anna said...

I'm sad we never saw the homeless muscleman guy when we visited...that would be such a treat. Oh and the fact that the other homeless guy stole a line from batman is just hilarious.

Ashley Engar said...

I love that guy was beating the other guy with a hockey stick. Homeless people are rad. Good for him for sticking up for women!