Friends in the Promenade

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Chance found me in the middle of the Santa Monica Promenade today. The sidewalks bustled with shoppers, street musicians and young idealists wielding clipboards.

I wished so bad that I had my camera when I came upon these two. There was a bum holding a sign, asking for money. He was dirty, but not the dirtiest. I don’t remember exactly what his sign said. It was some attempt at striking a sympathetic chord. Anyway, I was more interested in the irony of the scene, for next to him stood a girl, holding her own sign with the word “Greenpeace” scrolled across it.


She was dirty, but not the dirtiest. Her mission was like his; to raise money. Her approach was like his; to strike emotional chords. I watched them for awhile, slowing my pace to avoid their firing range. They stood as if on Lazy Susan’s, turning in circles with the flow of passerby’s. They aimed their signs, but she swung words too. He was less aggressive than her, otherwise he’d be sent away by the circling bike cops.

They wound the sidewalk like vultures, waiting for the peace to break. I imagined working a job where you wait for something bad to happen. When thinking of them, I always find frustration. My peace comes in knowing I headed my fathers advice by not following his footsteps into the police force.

I thought about last night, when I saw two cops drive up, pull over, get out, and with their sticks, shoe a bum out of a lonely corner, like she was a fly on an empty picnic table. She wasn’t bothering anyone, but was someone unwanted, something associated with uncleanliness. The cops were out to keep the streets sterile. They were doing their job.

Back to the two unknowing friends in the Promenade. He stared and she entered personal space. He hunched and she smiled. He was begging for himself, her for the world. Together I saw them as equals, apart I might not have. I wondered what the cops saw.

One Thought on “Friends in the Promenade”

  1. UT Says:

    Democrats! Both looking for a handout.

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