Thursday, October 16, 2008

Inglewood, Inglewood, always up to much good

Defying the advice of a knowledgeable taxi driver and a rapper who once declared that Inglewood is always up to no good, I stayed in Inglewood my last few nights in Los Angeles.

Turns out, Inglewood was up to much good. Providing me with a cheap motel qualifies as very good. And, I got to rub shoulders with lots of interesting people.

If you're ever looking for a great time, take the 117 bus east through Inglewood. Then, transfer on Central heading toward downtown.

You might not find this bus route touted on any Los Angeles travel brochures, but you'll enjoy the pleasant drive and it only costs a total of $2.50. You can't beat that.

I made room for an elderly woman to sit next to me on one bus trip, because that's what kind young men do on the bus. She didn't speak English (at least she didn't speak it to me), but she often put her Big Lots sale brochure from the newspaper in front of me, pointing out excellent products she apparently felt I needed to know about.

One was a lock-box of some sort. It looked like a box you would store important papers or documents in. The other was a very inexpensive package of t-shirts.

She would put the paper nearly in my lap, point at the product and say something to me I couldn't understand. I would just smile at her and those seated around us say something like, "That's an excellent price for that," or "I've gotta get over there and get me one of those."

I also met this really cool guy at the bus stop on West Century Avenue one day. We got to talking about Los Angeles. He told how after he got out of prison he knew he couldn't go back to San Diego, because he was getting in too much trouble there, so Los Angeles seemed like a great place to start over, since that's where he was born.

He'd found a good job there in L.A., and things were going well for him.

I told him I was from Texas, and he said he liked Texas okay but shared how "Chicanos from California don't really get along with Chicanos from Texas."

I wanted to ask him how Chicanos from California felt about Caucasians from Texas, but the conversation was going so well I didn't really want to go there.

When he told me about the tension between Chicanos in different parts of the country, I asked him, "Can't we all just get along?" He apparently thought that was pretty funny, letting out a little chuckle.

I was thinking, "Why wouldn't the Chicanos from California and Chicanos from Texas get along?" They should unite. That's a lot of Chicanos. Politically they could pretty much do whatever they wanted to do if they put away their differences and banded together.

I took the bus through Inglewood, then transferred and went over to to Hollywood Boulevard also. I bought a t-shirt that says "Los Angeles, California" on it, which I wore proudly on my Greyhound trip back to Texas.

Hollywood Boulevard is a place everyone needs to see at least once in their lifetime. I like to go there every time I'm in Los Angeles. There are lots of tourists there. A nice lady asked me twice on the street if I'd like to take a tour of Hollywood that included movie stars homes, but that seemed a bit strange to me so I turned her down. Frankly, I'd be embarrassed to admit I'd taken part in something like that even if I had. Can you imagine someone paying money to drive out in front of your house and gawk at it?

I really wanted to talk to this guy. A man stood at the corner of Hollywood and Highland with a huge sign that read, "Believe Jesus. Be ready." I was working my way over to talk with him and let him know I did believe Jesus and I was already ready, when the return bus came down Hollywood so I never got a chance to speak with him.

The economy is doing pretty well in Hollywood. The line for the Beverly Hills Chihuahua was practically out onto Hollywood Blvd. To people in the movie business, cutting back means switching from a latte to drip coffee, probably. Yeah, I read David Carr's article in the New York Times about L.A. following its own script...that was pretty well-written. David, you think flying out of Newark is interesting? Take the Greyhound. Trust me on this one.

I enjoy L.A. and never like to leave once I'm there. It's rather strange, actually, because only a few years ago, I never would have considered L.A. as a possible place to settle down someday. But for whatever reason, my attitudes toward the city have changed. I find it exciting, exhilarating.

In just a couple of years, I've encountered a complete turnaround in my mind.

Is that the Lord? The Word teaches that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, he will give us the desires of our heart. One of the things I find myself praying often lately is "Lord, please make your desires for my life my desires." In other words, I want to always make sure the things that feel exciting to me, or the things that are motivating me, are desires put there by him.

In the end, I want what he wants for me. I know there's no other way to feel truly fulfilled. If L.A. isn't the eventual place, I pray he changes what I currently feel inside of me.

But I hope he doesn't.

I arrived back in Houston early yesterday morning and thought you might like to hear about some of the highlights of another wonderful visit out west.

Until next time, goodbye L.A. Hope to see you again soon!

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