Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Surviving the Streets

   I had a feeling that my time in San Diego would make me soft, but I had no idea to what degree until I came back to L.A.  However, I'm pretty sure that a couple more days on these hard streets will cure that in no time.

   Everywhere you go its different, but you can believe there is one thing that they all have in common and that is they each have a ghetto.  Different places still have different mentalities, which are further divided by the different class levels.  As a nomad, it can sometimes be a little difficult for me to have to constantly keep adjusting my mindset.  Keeping track of the different ways and customs of so many different places and people and then having to switch into that mode on the fly can be an energy-consuming task.  Out here on the streets it can be pretty damn depressing at times.  You have to almost numb yourself to all sensitivity just to get used to it.  Last night I wanted so badly to lay down, even on the sidewalk, but unfortunately that was not an option due to the non-stop fighting and chaos. So, I played a little game I made up called "count the rats" to help me stay awake and pass the time.  I gave up after a couple of hours, though..I lost count.  Also, I listen to a lot of their stories.  Desolate tales of chronic drug abuse, domestic violence, and overall hopelessness are in no shortage. Watching people destroy themselves on a daily basis and not caring at all can be a tough thing to see at times.  The only thing they seem to care about is that next hit or that next sip of alcohol and they'll do just about anything to get it. It's especially tough when you meet and get to know them and see that some of them are really not bad people.  Somewhere down the line they just completely lost their way.  A feeling that I believe anyone can relate to on some level.  For the people here that know nothing else it's just a way of life, but for others you can't help but step back and take a look at the entire picture as a whole and see how grim it is.  Probably the two main things I miss the most right now are getting sleep (especially on the comfort of a mattress) and peace of mind.  Sleep deprivation is a very underrated assault on the mind and body and so is chronic stress.  To cope, I try not to get too attached to the notion of comfort because I know I would just get stuck trying to live in a fantasy world of my own creation. 

  I found a great documentary created by Pras (Fugees) aptly titled Skid Row that shows a pretty damn accurate representation of what's like to be here.  He only spent 9 days but was still able to capture the true look and feel of what it's like to live in the homeless capital of America.  Definitely worth checking out.

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