I witnessed a man squat down on a patio bench, with a euphorically cynical grin upon his face, and defecate on the front porch of privately owned property. Now it's not everyday that you see a fifty year old man, in a fedora, spreading his fecal matter on an unfortunate and unassuming household in the middle of Los Angeles… just every other day. Not quick to judge, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, attributing his unusual behavior to the new 'pay to pee' system overtaking the Los Angeles community. In several public vicinities, a toll box adorns the bathroom door, and an easy fifty cents buys you a pee. So I commend you, fedora man, for having the balls to negotiate this disillusioned system and develop your own form of free urination alleviation.
I can't decide if I love or hate Los Angeles, but one thing is certain: I haven't seen this much diversity since 'Who's Line Is It Anyway'… just kidding (that show had no diversity). But I absolutely love people- watching here, and oftentimes wonder how such an eclectic and distinctly unique set of individuals troll the Hollywood streets on the same day, at the same time. On any particular afternoon, a slightly grungy/ borderline homeless man might approach you, with pot in hand, and invite himself to dinner with you and your friends. And on said occasion, all you will consider is how this man has not been arrested for blatantly smoking pot at the busiest intersection in Hollywood. This is just another average afternoon in the Hollyhood, one filled with the uncertainty of survival, unforeseen adventures, and debauchery…
My first day as a Hollywood intern, many years ago, after being instructed to enter the office via a conveniently located doggie door at the eastbound corner of Sunset Blvd, I spent a third of my day retrieving and delivering various orders from el pollo loco for my boss and her staff. At approximately twelve thirty p.m, I, in my Jeffrey Campbell litas, walked the half mile distance down Sunset blvd to said destination, ordered exactly six chicken hard tacos and, with food in hand, strutted back to the office. After completing my service, my employer reprimanded me for neglecting to check the order; the tacos were soft, and she refused to eat this sub- par food. Minutes later, I was back on Sunset blvd, receiving cat calls while walking the route to el pollo loco once anon. And as I struggled with the el pollo loco manager for approximately five minutes, pleading with her to compensate for her error, then returning to work and receiving instructions to get a second round of food from el pollo loco, I questioned my current pointless state of existence as the in- office food retriever/ bitch.
In exchange for my time as an unpaid intern, I expected compensation in the form of knowledge. Perhaps my expectations were far too broad; I secured an entertainment- industry internship but only learned two irrelevant lessons: 1, how to walk in platforms down Sunset Boulevard without eating shit and 2, how to fend off uninvited accompaniment. On my first walk to el pollo loco, a street creep, noting that I have a "pleasant face and sick shoes," followed me from the office to el pollo loco, then waited as I ordered my food. After housing myself in the bathroom for a half hour, I exited the facility stalker free. On the second walk, a fellow, in his car, offered me a ride around town… I quickly darted off before he could snatch me up. Finally, on my third walk down Sunset Boulevard, a delusional man decided to grab at my clothing but I forcefully pushed him away. I then found sanctuary, at the outset of work, a mile down the road, just hidden behind the Chik- fil- a riot, within the nail polish section of Rite Aid.
Jennifer Levinson is an LA based actress, pizza connoisseur, and fashion addict.
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