A drag queen just pulled a gun on me.
L.A. is the antithesis of New York city. It is very uncool to wear a suit here. Fashion is very important to the transient Angelinos, but it's a casual, fused 70's & 90's sun drenched affair. There are more cars in L.A. than any place I've ever lived in my life. More than any place I've ever seen on TV. They're all seemingly trying to squeeze into the same parking spot that you desperately need. The drivers are super chill here for the most part, though; way more easygoing than they were in Lubbock. They all grew up surrounded by cars; they all understand it's going to take a half hour to go 3 miles; and everybody waves at each other and lets each other in. For the most part, traffic flows way better than you think it should. The one way L.A. is like New York is in its pedestrians. There is a class of smog-addled, self-entitled, low-survival-instinct-possessing Angelino who refuses to look both ways before crossing the street, and somehow believes that even if the texting, 19 year old would-be model doesn't look up, he or she will be fine, because they are in the right. There has never been an angrier-over-less type of person. And they are common. Like, one in every group of people crossing the street common. And there are a lot of people crossing every street, every second (I think these hordes of pedestrians slow down traffic more than the cars do). This person reminds me of the person who comes face to face with the 8ft, 1500 lb. grizzly, and instantly throws their hands in the air, shows their teeth, and starts screaming; as if presenting a puffed-up enough visage will scare the cars off. Now mix that image with a drunk baseball dad yelling at the Little League coach, and you pretty much understand the type of person I'm talking about. Pounding on the hood of your car. Middle finger violently erect. Teeth, jowls and slobber askew as they screech and howl. Usually deciding to remain in the street screaming long after their right of way has ended. Demanding justice from the all knowing traffic god, defender of pedestrians. Becoming far more of an issue than whatever the original perceived insult was. My guess is, this is the last thing that "belongs" to this person. Dignity? Nope. God-given pedestrian right of way? Yes. And I'll defend it with my very life.
On a different note, L.A., especially Hollywood, has a special breed of crazy person. People of unspeakable talent, self esteem, and mental illness. Severely damaged people who are going to be famous, just as soon as someone recognizes their talent. These people don't age gracefully, and it gets more sad and more desperate the older they get. I think the 60 year old lady dressed like a cartoon, moonwalking across the intersection probably came out here resembling a normal person. Maybe had a few auditions, extra parts, maybe a commercial. 40 years later, she's homeless, and more desperate than ever. And just maybe someone in one of those expensive cars will recognize her talent... But these people most likely never got that close to a job, now that I think about it. They hang out in Hollywood, and nothing actually happens in Hollywood. It's like the one part of town where something isn't being filmed at any given moment.
Broad daylight, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood. Black man, short white dress, green high heels, small caliber pearl handled pistol. We were edging out onto Sunset, preparing to make a right on red, when the man on the corner who had been sashaying back and forth (I swear I can think of no better way to describe his walk) suddenly decided to cross in front of us. We stopped to give him room. I guess he felt our car was hurrying him to cross, or got too close to him. Seemingly from nowhere, he produced a small pistol and pointed it right at me, then at the guy driving, then back at me. I saw straight down the barrel. Then he held it on the other cars as he crossed the street. He wasn't having his right of way violated. Honestly, I didn't find this unnerving until I saw him pointing it at the people in other cars. That's when it occurred to me that he was crazy and might hurt someone. I know, I should have known from the second I saw that his heels and dress didn't match. But in my defense, the pistol matched the dress very well, and I'm no fashion expert. I called 911 and got a message that they were too busy to take my call... (I don't want you to breeze past that one. Just think about it for a second. A crazy person points a gun at me. I call the cops... I get an answering machine.) Then the system hung up on me. I called back and got a variation of the same message again, followed by the message in a loud screeching 90's modem-style series of noises for the deaf, then the message again in Spanish. Then I was asked to hold. Finally, a lady answered, super annoyed that I'm calling this in, and also that I left the scene. "So this was 30 minutes ago and you don't know where he is?" "No, I said 3 or 4 minutes ago, Sunset and Argyle. he's headed southeast on Sunset away from Hollywood towards downtown". We did three or four laps around this until she finally agreed to send a unit out. To be fair to the LAPD, a second lady did call me back twice, about 15 minutes later. She wanted to know the details. The officers were having trouble spotting the drag queen in a white dress and green high heels, sashaying down Sunset.