November 10, 2009

If I were homeless, I'd live at Venice Beach

If I were homeless, I would definitely live in Venice Beach, hands down. In fact, I already know how my day would go:
  1. Wake up; go for a dip in the ocean
  2. Lay out on the sand for a few hours
  3. Take a quick shower in the common area
  4. Stop at the homeless tent for some food
  5. Pump some iron
  6. Chill will some of my other homeless friends; watch them smoke pot; listen to fun music coming out from the stores
  7. Set up my sleeping bag
  8. Sleep
And that's on my day off. On my "work" days, I'll be setting up shop, trying to make money by my jewelry making skills, my singing performances or perhaps I'd learn to knit or apply henna tattoos. Really, the possibilities are endless.

My day at Venice Beach today was nothing short of interesting. I took the doggie, Lady, with me on this little excursion, which started when I let my top down (of the convertible car, not my shirt) and took the scenic route over there. After successfully parking, we entered near Muscle Beach and were welcomed by the overwhelming smell of marijuana. After walking up and down the strip a few times, we parked it on a bench to people watch.
A boy who was seated nearby started chatting it up with me. Of course, I had a lot of questions for him and luckily, he was an open book. Turns out he hitchhiked from Pennsicola, FL after his parents kicked him out. This 22-year-old was now living at the beach. Admittedly homeless, I wanted to like, adopt him. So he's missing a few teeth, whatever! I told him that I was really sad he was homeless and that I think he should go and find a job, even if it's something shitty. He agreed but said he's lost all identification cards and wouldn't be able to get hired.
I learned about his prior drug habits, having tried everything including heroin, excluding crystal meth. "That shit will fuck you up," he said. "Really, and heroin was just a walk in the park?" I told him I didn't believe he was as drug-free as he claimed, since I once read somewhere that heroin was hella-addicting. He laughed and said that since he's been out in Cali (a few months) he's only done it once and it wasn't even that good. He continued to tell me that he's had a few years of hell, praying to the Lord above to take away his addiction. In the end, it wasn't the Lord that helped him - it was the lack of money in his makeshift wallet.
He invited himself back to "my place" a few times and offered the comfort of his spooning me if I chose to stay at "his place" --the beach. I politely declined. His game got even better when he asked what I was doing in California. I told him I was flown out here for a final job interview, to which he replied, "Oh yea, a model, right? You're gorgeous." Thank you kindly, I'm flattered. I go out to California and get hit on by a 22-year-old with 20 teeth and four track lines.

On a more serious note, I think the homeless population in Venice Beach is generally content. No one bothers them while they take tokes of the marijuana smoke, sit out on the grass and dance to the music blasting from touristy stores. The weather is always great, everyone's in a great mood - not thinking that being homeless is a big deal because here, unlike New York, they are beachbums - not stairsitters amidst the snow.

Honestly though, it's just a slap in the face seeing how different your life is from other people. I'm going to go to bed thinking about the 22-year-old boy tonight. I'm sad that his parents kicked him out, giving him no options, no security, no safety. I'm sad he's sleeping outside tonight.

And those are my thoughts.