By Hipolito Munoz, Managing Editor/Publisher
Los Angeles, like most major cities, I assume, is experienced very differently on public transportation than from a car. No kidding, right? As we travel just from downtown toward the Hollywood area, we see the faces of those that are just used to a daily routine that is not friendly. The travel from any place West of the Hollywood towards downtown, especially at night, is much more dreary. Many of the conversations that are overheard are harsh and sad. Even some of the more jovial ones are filled with sarcasm and struggle. Except for the tourists that are awed by “finally being here in Movie town.” Most regulars are getting back from a long day of work, looking for work, or just trying to spend a day trying to find something. What most of the conversations lacked was joy, the laughter, very seldom heard was generally accompanied the absurd acceptance of another day wasted.
Some of the scenes experienced are young man rapping to an audience that does not care until that ignoring audience becomes irritating and the artist started yelling at his audience because they are “just stupid.” And still he got no reactions, so he keeps singing, louder and this time with expletives to cope with his rage. A young couple cuddling, trying to ignore the smell of winter and unwashed folks by burying each others faces in each other’s shoulder. I hope they make it, they made several folks smile, no need for conversation there. A group of folks at a bus stop, waiting and struggling to ignore an angry, muscular man who is walking up and down the sidewalk threatening that if he chose to hurt anyone, he could, if he wanted to. The security “officers” in their bikes shooting threatening looks at the homeless through their Robocop sunglasses. A young, homeless man, being ushered away from a Seven Eleven because he was trying to get some money for food from the customers; he was trying to preserve his integrity in the middle of the humiliation.
People are suffering from hunger, from violence, from illness, and from countless other ailments that are too long to share, and the one common solution, is the compassion of others. However, we have glamorized suffering. Those thoughts that generations have imbued in our being because we do not want others to have it “easier” than we had it has become the bane of our existence. Why would anyone refuse to help those that are suffering? It is probably because helping others, forces us to sacrifice something that we are reluctant to give up, our “deserved” comfort. If we are making a decent salary, well those extra $20 dollars could go to a well -deserved night out at the movies, or a relaxing meal with family or friends. That extra cash could go to a needed vacation. Why should someone I don’t know get to benefit from my “sacrifices and hard work?
Our private transportation insulates us from those that are suffering; many because they found themselves in impossible financial situations, may be by mistake, may be by careless design. If we avoid them, we can still see them, and suffer through our lunch at one of those awesome looking restaurants like Louie’s on 7th and Flower. However, you can have a more peaceful meal there, if you at least acknowledge the suffering of some of those fellow passengers on the bus on the way back to their, homes?