Pretty sure I stopped a guy from killing a bum tonight. Way to go L.A., keeping it weird.
I don't think "bum" is the preferred nomenclature, but he was walking around asking for money. I make no claim to know about his housing situation. I live in Echo Park. I take the dog for walks at night. Apparently, Echo Park used to be kind of rough, but to me, it's mainly older family homes, or kids dressed in suspenders and oversized glasses paying too much for drinks and talking about how "gauche" Silver Lake has become. I think of myself as being more akin to the families than the rising tide of hipsters taking up all the rental properties. After all, I have the same crappy landlord who won't fix anything, I don't dress hip, and I drive an old truck and help the neighbors do stuff from time to time. But then again, I have a giant beard, smoke a pipe and play obnoxious music at inconsiderate volumes, so it's hard to say where I stand. I do stand a foot taller than almost everyone in this city. That's where I stand. And I'm not skinny tall. I'm a big guy, from a family full of big people. I'm all kittens and marzipan on the inside, but apparently I tend to present myself with my center of gravity lowered, my jaw tucked in and my eyes scanning the room for exits and attackers. I was unaware of this until my roommate pointed it out. But it makes sense. I had a lot of fights and surprise wrestling matches growing up. I still expect my giant brother to lunge from behind every corner and pummel me. Chad does not rest. I must remain vigilant for his next attack. Or worse...my other giant brother. If Chad was blunt force trauma, John was Chinese water torture. None of that is the point. The point is, if I give you a look that says "Get back in the car," you and your dumb friends get back in the car.
So, I had been in L.A. for a few months at this point. I was pumping gas at a station on Sunset Blvd when I saw the "employment-challenged" older gentleman and the carload of Jersey Shore looking bros collide. A silver not-so-sporty sports car was blocking the sidewalk. The old guy was pushing a shopping cart load of trash, newspapers, etc. The bros wouldn't move so he hit their car with his trash barge. Yeah, he's a jerk. The bros were none too pleased. The head bro came running, screaming about his fornicating car this, and I'll kill you that, etc. He grabbed the old guy's cart, yanked it out of his hands and threw it over. He then pushed the old guy out into traffic, in front of an oncoming bus. Not so close that it hit him instantly, but close enough that I didn't know if the guy was gonna make it. Maybe my mind made this worse than it was, I don't know. I think at this point he was refusing to the let guy back up out of the street or was preparing to push him down again. I don't know, but by this point, I had gotten around my truck and between them, and was pulling the old guy to his feet and out of the street. The bro was mad. His bros were coming, making their way across the parking lot toward me. I picked the old guy's cart up, looked at the kid and pointed to his car. He backed away, and he and his friends left. Screeching tires and smoke. A bro climbed halfway out the passenger window and yelled, "You're dead! I'm going to f'ing kill you". The old man learned zero lessons from this, and laughing, instantly began being a jerk again.
P.S. The homeless man in the photo above (not the guy in this story) is awesome. He usually hangs out around the Alvarado exit of the 101. He fully deserves any money you can throw his way. He has trained pigeons to follow his commands and will put on brief shows for drivers waiting on the light to change. He has about 6 or 8 pigeons around him. Some in a row on a sign, others waiting their turn on the ground. He points and only that pigeons comes to him. He points somewhere else and the pigeon goes where he points. I pulled the photo above from Google images. I believe it's the property of Skidrobot, an L.A. based graffiti artist.