I have been hearing on the radio and seeing on TV the Skid Row of Los Angeles. However, I never have seen it first-hand. Living in Pasadena, a very progressive suburbian city of Los Angeles county, yet haven't gone to Skid Row? That's ludicrous!
Call me hypocrite! Label me so insincere to the academic discipline that I spent so much time on. What happened?
The news about Skid Row gave creeps and chills; too risky for me to dare. I thought that those count of 84,000 homeless people in Los Angeles county, many of them are in Skid Row, were scarier than living and interacting with the Ata Manobo tribe of so. Philippines, who were considered by the early Philippine historian as the fiercest warriors of Mindanao. I was so intimidated.
Watch this clip from You Tube and see what I mean.
Nevertheless, while I started brainstorming on my first novel, Skewed Triad; No More: The Novel, I thought that Skid Row would be an excellent setting for a badly disfigured Filipino-American woman to regain completely her self-confidence and self-worth. Consequently, I mustered courage to visit and observe the "Third World" of Los Angeles,The Skid Row.
The traffic at the freeway was heavy that Thursday morning, so I decided to take the Metro train, Gold line. Pasadena to Union Station, the main hub, was only half an hour ride. At the Union Station, I walked two stairs down to take a subway Metro that took me to Pershing Square right at the Los Angeles financial center.
Believe me, just three blocks from Pershing Square, I already smelled the stink of a slum area, saw the roguishness of many untidy street people, and felt that I was rooted off the great city, despite those tall buildings. I slowed down starting to observe. Many were standing and talking in the street, especially near the buildings of non-profit organizations serving three-square meals a day and offering home and shelter to fortunate homeless families and individuals. Some people were yelling at each other; a few were walking erratically. Others were involved in some transaction of some sort.
I continued my walk for a few more blocks and I felt I was one of them. The smell became normal; the sight became ordinary, yet strange. I started to empathize with these less fortunate. I began to think of doing some volunteering in one of the soup kitchens. I went inside the building of Union Rescue Mission. After a talk with a Volunteer Supervisor, I decided to be a server at lunch time on Mondays and Fridays. Join me in this adventure at Skid Row in my next blogs.