Friday, January 29, 2010

Won't You Be My Neighbor

There isn't a better place I could have spent my last 6 months in LA than Downtown. I LOVE Downtown! Let me reiterate, I fucking LOVE Downtown.
I love my loft. I love my gigantic windows with a clear view of my neighbors in the building across the street (recently I tried to reach out to them with a sign in the window but all I got in return were hand waves, no real correspondence). Quinn and I have given them all names; Claire and Henry, Tom and Jerry, Lacey and Kid Rock, and we marvel at the ones we know exist but never show themselves, never open their curtains (a habit I find to be quite peculiar).

And in that way that exists in a new relationship where all those little idiosyncrasies make you swoon, I love the weirdos that shout at nobody from the sidewalk just below my window and the bogglingly loud bus that stops every few minutes, and the ridiculously loud sirens.

I love that within a block or two I can get to an independent art supply shop, an independent book store, a used book store, and several little independent cafes and restaurants and bakeries. Not only can I easily walk to all of these, but I can bring my dog along as well which is something she greatly appreciates.

I love that there is a vast array of different people and cultures down here. Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Olvera Street (Mexican), young American artist types, USC students and fashion school students are all pressed closely together and what's amazing is that they all intermingle pretty harmoniously.
Skid row is just around the corner from my building (literally) and I've gotten to at least recognize if not know the local tent dwellers. They always say hello to me in the mornings when I'm rushing to the bus stop.

Just about anything I could ever need is right down here too. The Fashion District, Toy District, Flower District, Fabric District, and countless electronic stores with prices so low they must have fallen off the back of a truck.

I love walking down to Grand Central Market, an open air market with a parade of food vendors, butchers, produce sellers and herbalists. I love meandering through the labyrinth of ".99 a lb" signs with the dull roar of hundreds of people speaking multiple languages, cash in my pocket and my hand greedily groping the mangoes, and apples, and gorgeous bunches of broccoli. I want so badly to plunge my hand into the bin of lentils!
All the way at the back of the market is a small herbalist who has every herb for every ailment you can think of in giant glass jars along a large wooden shelf. Here you can get little brown bags filled with Mullein for your cough, or Valerian root to help you sleep, or Black Cohosh for your cramps.

It feels so much more real to shop here. I feel like this person, who is real, buying this produce and herbs and lentils and beans from these other people who are real. Our hands touch slightly as I hand them cash in trade for their goods. I compare the onions from this guy to the onions from that guy. Nobody seems to have good persimmons.
After foraging for what I need for dinner I walk back home as the lights are coming up and the sun is going down somewhere off by the shore where I can't see it.

I love this too. Walking home. All the daytrippers walking in the opposite direction as me. They're all headed back to Hollywood, or the Valley and I'm walking into the belly of the beast, where I reside.

As I come up my street I wave goodnight to the sweet Korean couple that own the sandwich shop at the bottom of my building and I watch my fellow downtown dwellers relax at the bar across the street.
Up the elevator and into my place, Quinn has already started dinner and Lucy runs up to greet me. The feeling of Life is sweet!

And in three months I'm about to give it all up. This new life of farming in foreign countries better kick some serious ass (I have a feeling it will).

1 comment:

  1. you just made me fall in love with downtown all over again.