Liz, one of my WKU friends, calls to tell me she likes the blog mucho. Thank you, Liz. You have a sexy voice.
I catch the bus around 12:17 and transfer at Crenshaw.
Yes, the ‘hood movie Crenshaw. Tre and O-Dogg and Cain’s Crenshaw. But to be honest, I’m not deep up off in the ‘hood. No, deep Crenshaw – South Central Crenshaw – is for when I’m in a car. That I can lock. And duck down in. All Eyez On Me and the Menace II Society Soundtrack are tucked away, waiting for that day.
I ask a nice old lady with a face that’s wrinkled like my nutsack if I’m standing in the right place to catch the next bus. I am. By the way, that’s not a dig at the old lady. She rules. But her face honestly is wrinkled like my scrotum.
The bus takes me up Crenshaw, towards Hollywood. I go through an area of Bel-Air. Everything is gated. Most houses have Beware of Dog signs. Lots of campesinos doing yard work. An aside: can yuppies brag about their lawn to their neighbors if they’re not the ones mowing it?
I get off on Santa Monica Boulevard and actually sing to myself, quietly, “… until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard.”
I locate Gold’s Gym Hollywood. There’s a personal trainers wall. Their headshots on are it.
The gym overflows with twinks, hyper-lean Abercrombie wannabes, and aging, over-tanned muscleheads who are darker than most airport employees. I notice two seventysomethings in turquoise tanktops and short shorts flexing in the mirror.
They wear bottle-blonde toupees.
People look at me strangely because my shirt has sleeves and I’m pale-ish and wearing glasses. I guess in Hollywood that’s about as rare as having a vagina on your forehead.
I hit up a leg/shoulder workout and go to rent a shower towel, figuring it’ll maybe cost a dollar. Or five. $5.13, actually. To rent. A fucking. Towel.
This means that if you have five dollars you are going to be wet. Like a forehead-vagina. I have five dollars, but fuck them. I barely ever pay five dollars for dinner.
So what do I do?
I dry myself with my gym shirt. I don’t wipe. I pat. All over. Like a baby’s rashy asshole. I still can’t get my crotch dry, so I pull a stack of paper towels from the dispenser to finish myself off with. I notice that I should probably trim my pubes soon. They’re looking very Julius Erving.
I take a few minutes to force one out in a large and comforting stall. The toilet pressure sucks, but that’s Marisol’s problem; not mine.
Since Alex and I forgot to bring Q-Tips with us and are too lazy to buy a box, I gank a few (a shitload) from the jar by the sink. Fuck your $5.13 towel rental. Again.
Originally I was planning on job-hunting after my workout because I figured there’d be places to work around Gold’s Gym Hollywood, but the area is not glamorous and surrounded with menial job opportunities like I thought it would be.
Too bad derelict lots aren’t hiring.
I head up a few blocks to Hollywood and Vine, snapping pictures like a Japanese man.
Once at Hollywood and Vine I realize there’s not shit for me to do. It was swelling on Saturday, but you can count the people on a Monday around mid-afternoon. I walk around for a little while, admire the Compton tattoo on the back of some porky cholo’s neck, and then decide to catch the subway to North Hollywood to see what it’s like.
NoHo looks more suburban-ish and would probably be a nice place to live if I wasn’t dirt fucking poor. An old man with an oak cane (or is it pine?) exits a weird, pod-looking thing. Is it an elevator? No.
A quarter to piss. Now I understand why people just go on the sidewalk.
I walk down a few blocks, past a Ford dealership. The Mustangs and pickup trucks lined up out front remind me of Kentucky. I’m hungry and I want to eat, but I don’t see a chain restaurant anywhere. I think I see some sort of taqueria or whatever the fuck, but it’s very far down the road and I think my Achilles is strained. I’m not fucking kidding.
Back on the subway. A pair of black teenagers dressed head-to-toe in dark blue get on and sit down in front of me. Omigod.
My first Crips!
I almost tap one of them to ask if they’re real Crips, but a small Hispanic lady sits down next to me and I’m forced to move to the seat on the inside, out of tapping distance.
I gawk at the teenage gangsters for the rest of the trip, awestruck. Every time I muster up the courage to say something, I picture one of them lifting the wallet off of my bloody, bullet-riddled body in a back alley. Then my courage runs away.
But wouldn’t it be so fucking cool if I had a picture with one of them and both of us were doing the Crip sign? With both hands!
A girl can dream. Also, good thing I'm not wearing red. Talk about an elephant in the room...
I wonder how the teen Crips feel about this snitching campaign.
I eat dinner at a McDonalds. Good thing I didn’t get the McNuggets.
The dipping sauce policy may work out here, but it would never work in the South. Fat blondes will riot if they can’t get their daily gallon of ranch dressing. Pizza Hut would lose most of its business. There would be no vegetables, because what’s the point of a vegetable if you can’t drown it in a pool of calories?
On to my next thought: is anything fucking free out here? I almost buy some fries but I’m afraid the manager will make me tongue-polish his brown-eye. He comes over and tells me not to take pictures, by the way. I say I’m visiting from Tennessee and he goes away.
I catch the bus back to Crenshaw and miss the bus that goes by my apartment. The guy waiting with me at the bus stop says my bus, the 305, won’t be around for another hour. Fuck. So I reinforce the theme of my trip. I walk. I pass a Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles and promise myself to eat a meal there.
I make it to Cochran Street and pass this alley:
June 1: Held it
June 2: Walgreen’s on the Miracle Mile
June 3: Best Buy Culver City
June 4: Gold's Gym Hollywood