If you know me at all, you know that I have great care and sympathy for homeless people, and that the homeless problem in LA makes me very upset. I know that many of these people are mentally ill and are literally dropped off on skid row in mental hospital vans, left to fend for themselves in a world in which they can’t possibly do that. I also feel for the ones who, for whatever reason, have become so heavily addicted to drugs that they can’t see any way out. I have a homeless friend whom I pass when I walk to and from the metro, and sometimes I bring him treats from the farmer’s market. I know he’s addicted to something, and whatever it is, it ain’t pretty — but he’s nice, and I like him. (Plus, his eyes look in two different directions, which is kind of endearing.)
But… then there’s the third kind. These are the ones who, for one reason or the other, choose to be homeless. Maybe they think the world owes them something. Maybe they fancy themselves as being off the grid, not controlled by anyone else. Or maybe they are just plain lazy. I know it’s super un-PC to say that, and I truly believe that the majority of the homeless population, especially in LA, falls into the first two categories. But this third category does exist. I used to pay them no mind, but starting recently, they’ve really started to grind my gears.
I will pinpoint for you the exact moment when this shift in my perspective occurred.
The shift occurred a few months ago when I walked over to the living room window and saw a 60-something-year-old bum get up from where he was sitting on the bench in front of the church across the street, walk to the edge of the sidewalk, pull out his floppy little willy, and pee right into the street. Right into the street, on my nice, residential street. Then he SHOOK OFF his disgusting, floppy weiner, tucked it in, and sauntered back to the bench like he hadn’t just PEED INTO THE STREET IN BROAD, BRIGHT, SUNNY DAYLIGHT. And people, that is a sight that I can never un-see.
That was the first day I saw him, and he was with a woman, and they had backpacks, and they sat on that bench in front of the church and smoked cigarettes. So I guess he’d just gotten into town from somewhere, and decided that this was his new home? Indeed, he has since taken up residence right next to the church, on a small piece of sidewalk in front of a side door to the next building, which I assume isn’t used. And he’s got all the setup. It’s like he’s taking a camping trip. Tarp, blankets, clothes, all the goods. The other day I came home and he had all his clothes laid out all over all the bushes nearby. He’s reeeeeallly getting comfortable. And oh yeah, that whole side of the street is awash with the delicous, acrid smell of fresh urine mixed with dry, stale urine. Mmmm.
And tonight, folks… tonight he reeeeally upped the ante. Yes. The ante was upped. I came home and noticed that the “money spot” was free… that is, the best parking spot near my apartment. It’s not under any trees or power lines, and there aren’t any spaces in front or behind it, and when I leave for work in the morning, I’m already facing the right direction, so I just hop in and go. When I get that spot, it is a victory. It’s right across the street.
Right in front of the homeless man’s new “home.”
SON of a bitch.
So I moved. I moved my EFFING car, because you know why? Because when I saw him peeing into the street, he stood right next to someone’s car, so close that I would be surprised if some pee didn’t splatter on that poor, unsuspecting, tax-paying citizen’s automobile. There are quite a few substances I don’t want on my car. And can you guess what’s on the short list of those substances? Correct. BUM URINE.
So I parked in our garage behind my roommate Mary, but now I realize that she’s probably leaving early in the morning and I’ll be blocking her in, so I have to go move it again right now, in the black of night (OK, 11:15, whatever) to a different spot on the street. A spot under both a tree and a power line. So that the bum will not pee on my car.
I hate to say what I’m about to say, for so many reasons.
Get a job.