Friday, March 21, 2008

Little Ghetto by the Sea

 A year ago Jota and I moved from our cookie cutter, north of Pico, Santa Monica neighborhood, to beachy, artistic, and definitely eccentric, Venice Beach. A block west lies the beach, the Venice Canals are a block south, and just a few blocks east is Abbott Kinney Blvd, full of quirky little shops. Our quaint building is situated right on of the busiest intersections in the area for the summer. There's no sleeping in on a Saturday when a bike gang rolls up Venice Blvd at 8:00am.

My new hardwood floors lack shine and luster from years of sand being tracked inside, and I've all but given up trying to sweep up every last bit in the summer. While our shower has slightly better water pressure than my mom's house (read: a trickle), it's attached to a super deep claw foot tub, lovingly restored by our kooky landlord. Despite the kitchen reaching sweltering temperatures while I'm cooking, I've devised a pretty sweet cooling system using the oven vent, the back door, a baby gate, a swiveling fan, the front door, and both ceiling fans; allowing us to eat, play quarters, and sometimes sleep (Juan!) in our cozy breakfast nook. I wouldn't trade my new home for the world. Well, maybe for an additional 100 square feet, or a parking space.

However the neighbors, have got to go. Now, I don't mean Dave & Amanda, the other cute little couple from Maryland. Or Mykee and Jordan, with their little beagle mix Rainbow. Not even Saneechee (I spelled that phonetically), who is by far the coolest neighbor ever. I'm talking about the bums.

When Jota and I moved to Santa Monica from Maryland, we were shocked by the homeless population. But think about it...if you're going to be homeless, wouldn't you want to be where it's warm? These homeless people just go about their day, take their meals from the volunteers along Ocean Ave, shower down by the beach, and sleep on the sand.* Yes, you get the occasional nutjob that runs up and down the street screaming (or singing depending on the day), "Die bitch die!" No joke. But for the most part, the homeless in Santa Monica are a peaceful bunch.

Venice, is a bit different. They're younger, well dressed (ie clean North Face coats, Merrill hiking boots), beg you for money, weed, booze, and scream obscenities at you when you ignore their 'Will work for weed or sex' sign. They take off their shirts and play drunken fight club in the parking lot next to my house. They harass our neighborhood to no end, often resulting in police sirens and helicopter searches late into the night. They piss and shit behind our giant trash bins where my lovely neighbors who are lucky enough to have a parking space keep their car. So now we have to keep our trash locked in our common area. Our landlord had to cancel our recycling. There's no more room for another bin, because where would everyone put their bikes? And that is ridiculous. We are recycling fools.

Which is why when I checked the mail the other day, and noticed that one of these hooligans decided to stash his knapsack in the bushes by my house...I threw it away. In our garbage cans locked behind a 10 foot fence. I considered leaving a note along the lines of, "Don't leave your shit here", but decided that starting a turf war with the belligerent vagrants wasn't in my best interest.  

Those are Cheetos, Honey Bun, and Reeses wrappers left on my front stoop.  There were also Rice Krispies and Lay's wrappers in my shrubs.  I'm guessing someone scored their weed and got the munchies on my porch.  

*I know I am generalizing here, but I'm trying to paint a picture where there's a distinct difference between our experience in Santa Monica, and that of Venice.

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