Surrealism on the Sidewalk Home

The walk from work to the parking lot is about .5 miles according to Google maps. It takes 7-12 minutes, depending on how fast I decide to walk and how the stoplights are timed. Although it’s an area designated both “East Hollywood” and central Los Angeles (it has another name, not worth mentioning as it is another part of Los Angeles’ campaign to district each individual neighborhood), it’s a pretty boring walk most days, with the same people I see everyday – the old lady with the bright red lipstick waiting for the bus, the homeless guy with the suitcase who always says hello, and the lady who sells cheap belts.

Most days the walk is the same. On Wednesdays, the park I walk by has a farmer’s market and although I’ve stopped once or twice, most of the time there’s too much food waiting at home to make it worth while. There’s a bunch of cute boutiques I keep meaning to stop by, but I’m too tired and do I really need to be spending more money on clothes?

But every once in awhile there’s something different, something a little more unusual that piques my interest (I’m not counting the time a bird pooped on my jacket or the dead pigeon.) One day there were three guys all asleep. The first one decided to take a nap on the middle of the sidewalk. He didn’t look homeless and he was fairly young. In fact, it seemed like he had decided that that spot, at that moment was perfect for his afternoon nap, laying on his back, his knees up and his eyes closed. Up a bit farther, two other guys were asleep under a tree, resting before their bus came.

On Friday evening, as I walked past one of the grocery store parking lot, I noticed that the sidewalk was covered in papers. White typed on 8.5×11″ papers, words like “MEDICATION” “CLAIM” “STATEMENT” “COPING” appeared as I walked along. It was a surrealist experiment. The street was a social statement – what was our society telling us about the state of the world? A book tossed in to the street “JUDEAI—” – the rest was obscured. There was no wind to blame for this artwork, no lost soul trying frantically or even passively to pick up these pieces of a life. A zip code was the only remnant that this was once part of an individual – 90038.

I’m not writing it correctly now, but that is part of the surrealist moment – dreamlike, it’s hard to know if it even happened. Why it happened? No one really cares.

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