Friday, April 30, 2004
Every day I drive home from work exactly the same way. Normally, I tend to shy away from this monotonous sort of thing, but I feel as if Los Angeles has forced me into this predictable behavior. If you stray from the direct route, you’ll always get caught up in something or behind someone and it will always take you longer to get home.
But that’s not the point of the story. Sometimes, because of my job, I have to work late and end up driving home about the time most people are watching the evening news and getting ready for bed. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you like observing people.
Over part of my regular route I travel a good long portion down Highland Avenue, which takes me directly through the heart Hollywood. There are three intersections I don’t mind getting stuck sitting at the light. You know how Dante’s Inferno has the nine circles of Hell? I like to view these pauses in my journey home as the three intersections of Hollywood.
Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.
First, is the intersection of Hollywood and Highland. This is right in the center of the Hollywood everyone knows and loves. The Chinese Theater is just down the street, Ripley’s Museum sits on the corner, and there’s a fancy new temple to consumerism that was just built recently, the new Hollywood and Highland outdoor mall. I love stopping here because there are usually lots of tourists walking around. They’re usually looking down to the ground, trying to find their favorite star on the walk of fame, or looking up at the new video screen that advertises 7-Up, The Hollywood Reporter and other sorts of things. I often also see a guy dressed as Spiderman running across the street, but I’m not really sure what that’s all about. Anyway, It’s nice. Everything’s clean and people get their own taste of glamorous Hollywood… Kind of like I felt when I first started working in the entertainment industry.
Then I drive a little further, down to the intersection of Sunset and Highland. Here, you still get a bit of the glitz of Hollywood. Hollywood High School lives at this intersection and has such illustrious alumni as Carol Burnett, Judy Garland, and Laurence Fishburne. It also starts to get a bit seedier here. At night, on the corner opposite the Carl’s Jr. (who now have healthy low-carb cheeseburgers), I often see the “just-shaking-your-hand-but-really-passing-drugs-to-you” meet and greet. I figure anyone who hangs out at a payphone for any length of time can’t be up to any good. Who these people are fooling, I don’t know, but at least they’re pretending. It’s kind of like I felt after being in “The Biz” after a couple of years.
A little further down is Santa Monica and Highland. This is the final stoplight destination of my descent into Hollywood. There’s a mini-mall here, complete with a porn store and donut shop, and across the intersection is everyone’s favorite gourmet Mexican food, Del Taco. As you can tell, it’s a real high-end neighborhood, but that’s not the best part. It’s the hookers. I think they’re transvestite, or transsexual or hermaphrodite or something, but business must be good, because they’re usually out there strutting their stuff. I swear to god, they shake and swish their hips around more than any woman I’ve ever seen. They just go about their business, walking the crosswalks, hanging out in the donut shop and approaching the occasional car that pulls into the parking lot. Sure, I’ve seen them get busted a few times, but what I like about them is that they aren’t even trying to hide the fact that they’re prostitutes. Yes, kind of like how I feel now. Using my writing skills for a dating show is kind of like being a whore for Hollywood, but at least I’m not trying to pretend it’s something else.