Yesterday, as my husband and two youngest kids exited our minivan in downtown Los Angeles, the parking lot attendant told my husband to move the car. I motioned to my husband to wait as the kids and I walked behind the car. I looked over just in time to catch a "Fuck you" from a young, fit, homeless person.
I don’t think he knew that I was a little stressed out. My guess is he also didn't care.
I looked at him apparently for a second too long. “Fuck you blondie,” he walked slowly and kept looking back at me. I held onto my two kids' hands and waited as my husband re-arranged the car to appease the attendant.
I was glancing over at him and back at my husband, then three older woman, dressed like they had been at church, came walking down the sidewalk. I tried to move my kids one way, and they went another. I apologized and they laughed and said, “No worries.”
The homeless person across the street was still looking at me and said, “Get the fuck out of the way white girl,” and he started crossing the street, toward me and my kids.
We live in a city. You need to be a little bit tougher living here.
I have lived in Los Angeles for 17 years. I have had my share on run-ins with homeless people. But this lengthy, somewhat threatening, engagement was a first.
I started saying loudly and frantically to my husband to get the kids in the car, to open the damn car. He didn’t know what was going on and reminded me I had the kids. The homeless guy was now four feet away from us.
The kids asked if the bad guy was coming to get us, and I explained that he was probably mentally ill.
He saw me panic. “Oh you are scared,” he said, finally getting what he wanted. Me, frightened.
He left us alone.
I was shaking and my heart was racing. We started walking to our lunch spot, and I cursed the guy to my husband.
The kids asked if the bad guy was coming to get us, and I explained that he was probably mentally ill. I held each of their little hands in mind and glanced at all of the other homeless people sitting around on the concrete jungle of downtown L.A.
I thought, "I fucking hate downtown L.A. I always have." I don’t care how hip it is to like it, I fucking hate it.
“We are safe guys," I said, "But anytime someone makes you uncomfortable, like that man just did to Mommy, you need to walk away and get help. We live in a city. You need to be a little bit tougher living here.”
I glanced at my husband thinking he would shoot me a dirty look. He kept his eyes straight ahead. His silence was the approval I needed at that moment.