We needed milk, desperately (my husband is an avid tea drinker) and I had a prescription ready at the pharmacy, so even though it was hot, I had to venture out to the grocery store. I am not a fan of the heat and I admit, I felt a bit cranky; I was not in the mood to deal with the Hollywood locals.
I walked with heavy feet down our 3 flights of stairs, and immediately, as I turned the corner out of our driveway, the heat and the city crept up my neck. 50 feet north of our driveway, an abandoned leatherette lounge chair had been left to melt into the middle of the sidewalk. It was torn and peppered with the remnants of old duct tape, and it was occupied. A man with wildly matted hair that stuck out in haphazard tufts all around his head, was reclining in the chair, looking in my direction but clearly not at me. He wore a long black coat that matched the chair and shoes that had no laces. His hands were caked with dirt and he picked his teeth and muttered with excitement as he peed on the chair, clearly marking it as his territory. I wasn’t one to argue, so I crossed the street and continued on my way.
I got about 3 feet up the sidewalk, and noticed 2 of my neighbors sitting on a crumbling white brick wall, eating ground meat off of paper plates. I didn’t want to be rude, so I stopped to say hello; apparently one of them had surprised the other with spaghetti, but had forgotten the sauce and the noodles. They stared at me with sad expressions, holding their plates precariously with drug addled hands. I said I was sorry for their predicament and moved quickly along.
As I approached Sunset Blvd., a man turned the corner onto my street, pushing a large cart; in the cart was a rusted stock pot and a long box that had once held a portable electric keyboard. When the man saw me, a look of absolute terror filled his eyes. He let go of the cart and ran out into the street where he started unbuttoning his pants and screaming at me, “Go Go, Hurry, Goooo”. The cart was rolling toward me and the man was in a complete panic, so I ran past the cart and around the corner to put him at ease. When I looked back, he had reunited with the cart and was pushing it happily down the street.
The first block of Sunset looked clear, but I noticed some extremely exaggerated motion on the second block. It looked like a young girl, skipping with abandon down the street. As she got closer, I realized it was a middle-aged man dressed in gold satin shorts ( very short shorts), and a tight white tank top with the #69 plastered across the front in red. His platinum blonde wig was teased up and his feet were adorned in furry socks and crisp white keds that looked as if they had just come out of the box. He skipped toward me, giggling and shaking a pair of cheerleaders pom pom’s with pure joy. He stopped, smiled, and with gleaming teeth, did a quick cheer,” Yum Yum Yum, Bitch, Yum Yum Yum, Go Tiger”, and tossed his blonde hair piece onto a bus bench before dashing away down Sunset.
I made it to the market without any further interruptions and headed straight to the pharmacy. Our pharmacy is tucked into a little nook at the back of the store and right outside is a machine that will measure your blood pressure and pulse and tell you how much you weigh. I call it the blood pressure chair and it is often being used by older people waiting for prescriptions or just having a rest before tackling the produce section. Today, there was a man in the chair who looked out of sorts. His shoes were torn and carried the hues of living rough, and he was wearing a filthy tattered sweater on a 100 degree day. His face was red and his eyes looked nervous and desperate. I found it suspect that he was hanging out by the pharmacy, but I went into the pick up area anyway; 10 seconds later, the man was standing behind me. I bolted out the exit.
I decided my prescription and the milk could wait; clearly, a heat wave so close to Halloween was bringing the bizarre into a frenzy in Hollywood, and I had reached my limit for the day.