Surrealist Sidewalk – Downtown LA Edition

10:00AM is a strange time to be out on a morning, the stragglers to work filtering in, wondering if they should prolong their lateness or speed up in an effort to make it seem like they were frantically trying to get there.

The people look at me as if I am some oddity and perhaps, they are also thinking what the same thing as the recent middle aged people have thought, that I am still in high school. This is neither true in their head nor in my appearance and strangely reversed from when I was in high school.

No, it’s not that. It’s my over-abundance of joy for fall, transparent in clothes that are too warm for Southern California fall day. Leather boots and a trench coat do no justice in 80 degree weather.

I take the train past the strange worlds of factories and offices, the LA River floating lazily by. Only people from a Mediterranean climate would appreciate it – to everyone else it looks like the remnants of a bathtub. The dry trickled out lines of water filled with gray, concrete reflections. Down here, you don’t see the lush plants or bird species. Just the overtones of the industrial world.

On the train, there is the token guy who reeks of pot and since he isn’t smoking now, I imagine he must have finished his joint or pipe or whatever seconds before boarding. You can almost feel the stickiness of the scent. No one else looks. It’s a universal phenomenon.

But I keep going, on the train, then by foot, and now, I’m on the other side of downtown. Pushing past the lawyers dragging their white boxes to court, the mixture of people waiting for the bus, either having finished their earlier shift or on their way to work, maybe having just dropped their kids off at school.

I walk up the hill and there are the same ladies, close to my age, with the little shiny hot dog cart as always. Bags of chips line the steel sides and there’s an occasional Gatorade bottle. Today, there’s an obese man who wants a hot dog.

“You want a hot dog?” the one lady asks. She, too, is impressed that he wants one now at 9:50AM.

He nods, “With everything.”

The ladies look at each other and laugh.

I keep walking, thinking I am not one to judge. I once also wanted a hot dog early in the morning. I continue up the hill, past the gleaming sides of Walt Disney Hall, the German tourists who are always taking photos there, always the same, always in windbreakers and capris, past their bus and the waiting enclave, onward and onward.

Until I find a cup of coffee and the day really starts.

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