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Tales of MacArthur Park and beyond

Jul 6th 2010 at 11:12 AM

 

My latest trip in LA had me take the underground subway or Metro as they call it- to downtown. I love the trains and buses as you already know!

 

So I headed down to Union Station, the sun was burning hard, remember this place is hot as Mexico (which technically it is all but for a border line!) anyway my misplaced geography aside, I was covered in factor 60 which is basically a Burka.

 

Union station is awesome and old. I have been there years ago when husband, Ashley and I once took a train trip to San Diego. The great hall of the station is beautiful and very reminiscent of the ‘olden days’ as I like to call things when am not sure of their age nor can be bothered googling for your information.

 

Anyway it really does look stunning and of a day when train travel was afforded the name ‘elegance’ and not hundreds of people squeezed into carriages.

 

I walked from the station and onto the Mexican bit where the oldest street and museums sit. It’s called Olvera Street and if you like Mexican wrestling gimp masks, fried things, Jesus beads; taco’s and Hello Kitty things then you are in heaven! If like me you don’t like any of that stuff, you start walking in the opposite direction and go find the museum which basically tells you that the house belonged to Mexican people then American people turned up and made Los Angeles their own and left the Mexican people to clean their houses or become bad drivers….or any other stereo type that American comics like to bang on about.

 

Further along the street there was a protest about Americans not letting Mexican people live in Los Angeles and also a big speech about stereo typing Mexican people, but they were drowned out by Mexican people selling chewing gum, Jesus beads and a group of Mexican people dressed as ancient Inca’s doing a tribal dance to drums. It was awesome.

 

I got bored with that and headed back on the train to Little Tokyo which was really cute and they had hundreds of Hello Kitty stuff and waving golden cats. There is only so much of that you can look at; it’s a bit like walking down Princes Street in Edinburgh and thinking ‘really more tartan?’

 

I headed back on the train where a drunken man fell on his back and pissed himself, am convinced the stain was in the shape of Hello Kitty, or maybe it was just me.

 

Finally I decided to get off the train at MacArthur Park, I loved the song so I must love the park eh? I didn’t know that outside the station were at least 80 Mexican people trying to sell food that looked incredibly odd, and came out of a vast array of boxes, bags and wheelie bins. They thrust this stuff into your face as if smelling it would make you want it. I didn’t like it but I come from a country that eats haggis and deep fried pizza so am not one to mock. Yet again the Jesus beads came thrown at me….Jesus? What is it with the beads?

 

Anyway MacArthur Park is a park in a town with squillions of old weather beaten Mexican men who gamble at concrete tables, I tried to get near them to see what the game was but they shouted at me. I don’t know what it was they shouted but in unison it was basically ‘Fuck off’ so I wander off to get a seat in the shelter.

 

I didn’t know sitting down meant “please try to sell me beads, fried crispy wormy looking things and shaved ice with neon coloured liquid” I managed to beat off the constant food vendors (who needs that much food in a park?).

 

I spotted a skinny tanned looking boy with a ghetto blaster walking towards me; I thought ‘maybe he has fried goods in that music box, I wouldn’t be surprised”

 

He sat beside me smiling gently, he was followed by a tall thin Chinese/Asian guy, and they both looked about 20 years old at a push.

 

The brown faced boy smiled and said “hello”

 

I said “hello”

 

He said “I am Israel”

 

I said “really? This seat is occupied”

 

He never got the joke, he sat down, the tall Asian boy stayed standing, I noticed he was clutching a bible.

 

Israel said “How has your day been going?”

 

I said “Fine what do you guys want, if its Jesus am not up for crazy, am all done on crazy today”

 

Israel smiled and said “Have you read the bible?”

 

I lit up a ciggie and said “yes, are you going to quiz me on it?”

 

The Asian boy and Israel started telling their good news, it wasn’t really good news to me, but I didn’t want to appear unfriendly so I sat nodding and smoking and watching the Mexican men gambling in the distance.

 

“Don’t you like God?” the Asian boy (I think he was Chinese or Asian, not am not sure…he could have been some other race…I wish I had paid more attention now am trying to tell you the story).

 

Anyway I said “I don’t like that bad people might be in this heaven you speak of”

 

This gave them grist for the mill; they were now desperate to get into this.

 

“Don’t you believe in forgiveness?” the standing boy said as he rubbed the cover of his bible.

 

I took a breath and said “well, its like this, if Hitler at the last minutes of his death begged for forgiveness and gave his heart to God and was truly sorry then according to your bible he will be in heaven and I don’t want to go there in case I meet him, coz I will have an issue with that and might start a fight, would you like to die and go to heaven and the first person you met was Hitler?”

 

“Then that would be Gods will” Israel said.

 

“And you would be cool with that? Spending eternity with a really contrite sorry Hitler?” I asked him. He struggled for an answer.

 

They changed the subject “Do you want to hear our good news?”

 

“if your good news is that Hitler is sorry and is waiting for me to be sorry so I can spend eternity with him, then no, that good news better be more interesting than that” I said. (I will decide when this subject is closed)

 

The standing boy tried a different tack.

 

“Were you raised in Christianity?” he asked.

 

“No, poverty” I answered.

 

Then I said “Do you believe that homosexuals are evil?”

 

Israel got excited at this “I used to be gay…”

 

Before he finished his sentence I gasped “Used to be? Come on don’t tell me you were gay and found God and you are heterosexual now!”

 

Israel smiled beatifically and said “Yes”

 

“No Way! You poor lamb, surely God didn’t make you straight, you are gay and that’s cool, God is forgiving remember? He gave us Lady Ga Ga” I shouted, it startled the Mexican gamblers.

 

“God made Adam and Eve” the boy who was standing butted in…

 

“Ok, so God can forgive Hitler but not homosexuals?” I shouted again.

 

This wasn’t going as planned.

 

The standing boy added “eighty five percent of gay men were raped by homosexuals as children”

 

Israel added “I was raped as a boy that made me gay” and then he nodded.

 

I hugged his arm and shouted at the standing guy “That’s bollocks total bollocks, gay men are the smallest percentage of child abusers, I was raped by a heterosexual man, so that means I was destined to be a lesbian and God had me raped so I would be heterosexual…GOD saved me from homosexuality? Is that what you are saying?”

 

He didn’t know what to say to that.

 

I turned to the ‘used to be gay’ boy and touched his wee cute face and said “Mate you are gay, its nothing to do with abuse, accept it, stay away from brain washing Christians, go out and there and embrace your life and…dress better again and give Kylie songs another go, for the love of GOD Lady Ga Ga is here, that’s a sign surely”

 

He laughed a loud lovely chime of a giggle, hugged me and said “I wasn’t happy as a gay”

 

“That doesn’t mean your not gay I know lots of gloomy gay men, they aren’t supposed to be happy all the time, but they don’t need to deny their true self and find God to please others, God made you according to your bible, stop being something you are not” I said.

 

The boy standing said “he doesn’t want to be gay, he heard God’s voice”

 

I switched my head round to Israel and said “maybe it was a chemical imbalance? Maybe the voices were schizophrenic and it wasn’t God just a mental illness, buzzing poppers could have done that, you can still be gay” I just didn’t want the team to lose one, is all am saying.

 

He smiled and hugged me, I genuinely warmed to him but then I do love most gay men in general.

 

They continued talking to me about their tolerant God and all I could think was- what God hates gays? That’s not a forgiving man is it?

 

They then bowed their lovely shiny heads and prayed for my soul. I sat there staring at the grinding poverty of the wee Mexican women selling funnel cakes with four dirty toddlers at their feet and wondered if God was sitting there in MacArthur Park with us, maybe he was sorting out the gays from the straights or maybe he was going to perform a miracle for the kids who would grow up in an unfair society or maybe tell the Pope to allow contraception…or maybe he would whisper into Israel’s head that being gay was fine by him and let that young man live his life his way.

 

The boys got up, and I said to Israel “Maybe in years to come you will wake up and say ‘that crazy Scottish women was right, I am gay and that’s cool’ and you will be free to live your life as you want and God will still love you”

 

Israel said “Maybe one day you will wake up and remember me and take God into your own heart and go out and spread the good news yourself”

 

I laughed and said “I think you will find Kylie before I find God but thanks lovely man, go in peace”

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