I was riding my bike yesterday, like I do. I was undecided about whether to walk or ride, since I was just going to the Best Buy, and then later planned to ride over to the UCB theater. I rode, as exposed in the first sentence. I tend to ride in the street, not on the sidewalk, because the sidewalk is full of people walking and riding bikes and waiting for buses and slowing down a more determined bike rider (like me!). I'm cautious, I've got lights, I follow traffic laws and often cross streets with crosswalks instead of presuming to merge on a bike into a busy left-turn lane. I presume to save or prolong my own life in this way. Yesterday, while riding my bike, I saved another life too. It was a small dog. It's owner, some socialite-lookin' would-be Paris Hiltony blonde enormous-sunglasses-and-heels-wearing creature was gabbing away on a mobile phone, back to the street, as her little dog wandered around on its leash and into the street. I didn't hit the dog. I probably would've gotten hurt if I did, as it'd be a big bump. But I couldn't make a sharp turn into cars speeding along, and I couldn't quite jump the curb at such a narrow angle. I scraped up my palms and a knee, sprained my wrists, and snapped the cable on my $5 odometer. Now I've gotta get the brakes fixed on the car AND the bike - the rear brake cable was also jostled loose when the front wheel spun around backwards. For her part, little miss starlet-to-be did a good job scooping up the dog and running away in heels when some guy and a bike wiped out right next to her. But I'll just bet if I hit that dog nobody would have run away, there'd've been hell to pay. So it goes. ONE! I notice lately, especially around shopping centers and trendier parts of town, there is a certain style to carrying one's ipod (and here in LA, everyone has an ipod, even the thieves, as we know.). In the more hipster kinds of places, they remain unobtrusive, perhaps with an earphone cable hanging out, or sometimes neatly threaded through the shirt. But in the trendy section, it's carried between the thumb and one finger, display out, at chest height. Sort of where their chest-graphic would go, if they were care bears instead of ladies in expensive clothes, interested in advertising their song choices or ipod ownership.
On multiple occasions, I've had the dubious fortune of being passed on the sidewalks of Santa Monica Blvd. by an old guy in a flannel shirt on a Rascal. As he passes you, or anyone else on the sidewalk, no matter how close of a pass it is, he shouts "Outta the way, asshole!" Everyone he passes gets their own yell, so one mightn't take it as personally as it seems at first. Also, he has a blue parrot on his shoulder. A real live bird that looks at you, but does not - so far as I know - shout 'asshole!' at strangers. Yet.
Walking into the Best Buy today (I'm determined, see?), a comedian stopped me and said hello. Truly unnecessary, since I didn't spot him at first, but very cool, and good for one's ego.
Apparently, someone's been murdered somewhere around here lately. There are signs on lampposts and such, offering a $57k reward for information on the murderer. It was an older gentleman, out for his 'nightly walk,' and apparently stabbed to death. That part's sad, but not strikingly unusual. The unusual, bastardly thing is that someone's going around sticking up self-defense class advertisements next to the reward posters.
And back to antagonistic traffic, last week walking back from Trader Joe's, a motorist was upset that he could not turn right because the car in front of him was not willing to mow down pedestrians in the crosswalk. He honked his horn. "Beep!" I said. He honked more. "Beep! Beep beep," I said. After the third such exchange it became clear that his window was down, that he could hear me clearly, and that he was now not-turning-right even though the way was clear because he was very pointedly honking at me. I didn't stop though, already having gotten this far. I didn't look at him either, but I smiled more. Russell assures me this is the course of action you want to take with someone you've placed into that kind of losing situation. And it didn't get me shot this time!
One, two, three, four, five, SIX! That's enough of that for a while. Typing hurts.