Instead, I went to Venice beach. (In my excitement to be outside and away from the office, I called up a friend who lives in Hawaii, which is akin to him calling me from Interstate H-1 to tell me how cool it was he was driving at 65mph.)
I love all the crazy, hand-made things the street vendors sell on the Venice boardwalk. I saw this set of salt and pepper shakers that looked like two people hugging. It was really cute, until I noticed that the salt and pepper poured from their eyes, making them the creepiest salt and pepper shakers ever.
I also saw some hand painted, ceramic skulls. It took me a minute to realize that they were bongs. I wondered what other home decorations I’d seen were actually bongs. Your name on a grain of rice? A bong. The painting of your name made out of rainbows and dolphins? A bong. The hugging salt and pepper shakers? Bongs, with the smoke coming out of the eyes.
Another thing I love about Venice is the canals. I didn’t even know they existed, until a couple of years ago. When my wife and I stumbled upon them, she said, “Oh, I wondered where the canals were.” Shows how much I know about Italy.
I don’t know if they named the city “Venice,” then decided to dig the canals, or if they found the canals naturally and thought “Venice” fit.
I prefer to believe the city founder one day just declared, “I hereby name this city, ‘Venice!’ And… Hey, you, what are you doing over there?”
Then a confused guy with a shovel looks around, and says, “Just digging some canals. Why?”
(Please don’t tell me the actual story. Mine’s better. Admit it.)
The best part of Venice, though, is the people watching. There were roller skaters dancing, hippies playing bad Bob Dylan and/or Marley covers, skate boarders Ollying, a homeless man declaring George Bush is controlled by aliens, people practicing Capoeira, another homeless guy declaring the first one is controlled by aliens, sunbathers sunbathing, surfers surfing, muscle builders building muscle, and generally a throng of people hustling and bustling up and down the beach.
Los Angeles doesn’t have a Commons, or a Central Park, or what have you. We have the beach. Whether they live on the West Side, or in the Valley, or in East L.A., rich or poor, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, or other, in the Industry or just a civilian, a P.A. or a studio executive, everyone goes to the beach. If you want to see, to experience, to be a part of a cross section of this great metropolis, just go to the beach.
I promise you’ll have a great time.