Day 2 – Checking my privilege in a beautiful place

Dawn day 2 in the crazy house this morning saw me stripping my bed to the soundtrack of roosters and a little yapdog outside the window that seemed endlessly concerned by my presence and desperate to warn everyone. I loved the guys there though. It’s a huge family originally from Mexico – 8 brothers and sisters and their sick mother, with all their partners, pets and habits. They were all working multiple jobs and renting out their space, crashing early in the evening and getting up before dawn, which fitted my jet lag well. And they had made a beautiful house, and were generous. They positively forced me to eat all the bagels I could manage, with endless cream cheese, and if I ever ran into them they were eager to chat. But the area was a bit weird and I went for a walk last night and it did feel pretty stark and deserted. So I went with my instinct and moved to Venice, to a hostel.

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Venice is very different. They seem to have canals that are entirely pretentious and serve no purpose except to live on. There are still small dogs, but carried in baskets or halfheartedly walked by stick thin twentysomethings with sunglasses and platforms. There’s yoga on every block and you’re more likely to find Matcha than coffee. I’ve been walking around thinking of the guys in that church. I move area just by hitting a few buttons on my iPad. They are scared they’ll lose their house in the area I moved from. While I’m in a coffee shop looking at pictures of myself their kids are shooting one another.

I walked up the side of a river in Glendale yesterday and it was like a shanty town for the dispossessed, some of whom had brought all their possessions to live for a while between a freeway and a trickling urban river. Some of them had brought skis, fire grates, cases and cases of possessions, beautiful curtains for shelters. Others had shopping trolleys packed with all familiar household objects. Some were cooking jambalaya with good implements on open fires. Others were smoking pot in filthy tents. One lady was fishing, many people were washing things in the river. I guess they aren’t moved along and the area is just used as a cycle track. Certainly I was the only man walking that didn’t live there. I wondered about all their stories, how they had ended up there, how they found their happiness, what might happen to them. Here’s me with my flat in Chelsea and my job making stories, and these people might have once had much more, and now you can walk past them and almost not see them unless you look.

After checking my privilege I went to meet a lovely man called Ryan to talk about movies and ambition on a roof garden while his miniature husky inspected us and we sipped espresso. Then I walked to muscle beach to see hulking brutes pose for photos, and did some yoga. Soon I’ll go back to my comfortable bed in a room full of bunks. The weather today has been gorgeous, like springtime in London. I’m very very lucky to be here, and to be able to share this with you.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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