Thursday, December 4, 2008

Seen: LAPD and Teens

As I biked down 30th tonight, I came across six teenage boys being detained by four police officers between Broadway and Main. The officers had them against the chain-link fence, some of them cuffed. One of the officers noticed me lingering and observing and asked me if I needed something in a less-than friendly tone, and asked "do you know them?" I guess it is natural for LAPD to be on the defensive, especially when approached by a small young woman on bicycle at 8PM.

I told her that I didn't know the kids and I was just curious as to what was going on, why they were being detained, and she seemed reluctant to tell me. The other officers came up to us and one of them asked "What, are you a reporter?" To which I honestly replied "No, I've lived in this area for a while and I'm just wondering what was happening." Finally, an officer told me that they had been caught drinking on the school campus, two of them didn't have identification, and one might have a warrant out, and the rest were okay. And he told me with a smile.

I know that underage drinking is a serious offense, and that it is probably procedure, but I can't help feeling like it was a bit excessive to have them up against the fence like that. In a different neighborhood, underage drinkers may have just been escorted home instead of being treated as criminals already.

It's a much more complicated issue than that, with many other circumstances and facts to consider. This is a part of living in an urban area in this era, I suppose: procedure and code preclude common sense and independent judgment, and this can work both ways. Maybe even with my preference for city life, I still have some small-town sensibilities.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

On The Move, Still Writing

As of November 30th, I was no longer a resident of 1821 South Main Street.

My lease ended and I will be taking a hiatus from Los Angeles for a much-needed break starting January 1, 2009. I will be unemployed for the sake of serious rest, writing, and travel. Those three things don't sound like they actually go together, but they do. I am not traveling to see any particular sights, only people, and though I will be going through a gauntlet of various airports, it will be a welcome change from the gauntlet that is LA rush hour by bicycle.

All this traveling doesn't mean that I am going to disappear from the LA blogosphere; in fact, I will be using this break to catch up on various posts that have been collecting dust in the "Drafts" section of my Blogger account. Though I usually try to stay away from the internet and technology when I travel, January will be an exception. I am traveling to spend time with friends and to spend time on writing both online and offline, and I'll be toting my laptop with me for this purpose.

I began this blog in January to document my experience living in this odd little zone in Los Angeles and to give exposure to a side of South and Downtown LA beyond the stereotypes of violence and urban decay. This is an area that is changing, both through gentrification and grass-roots community revitalization, and it needs to be acknowledged. There is still much more writing to be done, more research, more than I have been able to do while balancing a full-time job, a social life, and other community commitments.

I feel in love with Los Angeles from this tiny studio apartment; in the last year, I became car-free, joined an arts collective, connected with community, and grew as a person and as a wrier. By no means am I shutting down or archiving South of Downtown-- I am merely disclosing that I am now living elsewhere. I hope to write about SoDo as a true resident again once the wanderlust is satisfied.