When I told an old friend who used to also live in Los Angeles that I found an apartment on Pico and Crenshaw… his knee jerk reaction was “Do you own a gun?”
30 years ago when I lived on 6th and Alvarado a police officer asked me the same question… At the time I was just shy of my 20th birthday and California law stated you had to me 23 to purchase a weapon… legally.
There is however an incredible difference between how it was and how it is. And I am so glad, and PROUD! In the late 80s people were afraid. There was no eye contact. I was that “Tall, skinny, crazy white chick who just didn’t get it!” back then. Now: I am “That tall (not so skinny) crazy white chick who CHOOSES not to buy the BS.”
I love speaking with other passengers on the bus. I LOVE that people now look each other in the eye and say “Good morning!” I especially ADORE the fact that people getting off the bus thank the driver! AND, that (most) people take the trouble to put their rubbish in the bin and pick up after their dog!!! The City of Angels is so much more civilized than I left her 30 years ago, it literally brings tears to my eyes.
I AM SO PROUD!!! REALLY!!!
It is so important for us to remind each other every day how wonderful it is that we have our health and our humor, That we have managed to coexist for so long without major catastrophe. I love you all. I really do. And I am reveling in the re-discovery of a beautiful and deeply humane place to call home!
That said… the one phenomenon I find a bit disturbing is the gated “community”. In all fairness, some are more menacing than others. The one my place backs on does not have razor wire – and the fencing seems more geared toward keeping little kids away from major traffic arteries.
A mere five blocks away though there is another, complete with 12 ft hedges topped with razor wire. It is what I could only describe as a “high-end” compound. Were this Rio de Janeiro and not Central Los Angeles it might be less unsettling. The question that keeps recurring is what exactly is it that the people who choose to live there find so threatening?
To my simple mind, the mere fact of living in such a place would seem like a silent declaration stating “I am so important, and have so much important stuff, that I need to be cloistered away.” Are they trying only to keep perceived threats out? Or, are they actually isolating themselves from a more holistic participation in community life?
Just north of Wilshire is Hancock Park which could be called a “high end” neighborhood. I have walked the sidewalks and admired lovely homes, each reflecting the unique tastes and personalities of its inhabitants. I have exchanged warm greetings with residents who are jogging, walking their dogs or taking their toddlers to play dates. No bars on the windows, no razor wire, why is it that the residents of that neighborhood do not feel as threatened as their counter parts on the south side of Wilshire Blvd.?
The only answer that comes to mind is that fear is big business. Just stop and think about it, then ask yourself: how many products are marketable because people are afraid?