What Is This Agonizing Place?
Transforming Pain and Shock of Our Establishment
There was a pure disgust present in the air. I was about to leave social security administration building. Everyone inside and around was clearly frustrated. Even the security at the entrance seemed like they just don’t want to see another human face.
It was a hot summer morning. Sometime in mid-June. Beginning of a dry heat inferno. Every pore on my body was screaming in agony. I was drenched in sweat just by stepping outside the building.
Right next to the administration you could see tents being put up by homeless people. It is a big problem here. That homeless population. I’ve never seen anything like this. Or experienced such a brutal reality. Seeing some of them curled up and lying on the middle of the dirty sidewalk.
“Why middle?” I asked myself
Isn’t that the worst place to rest? Middle of the walkway. People are forced to go around you or jump over your body.
Are they trying to provoke a reaction? If so, which one?
I was curiously baffled. The rest of them were eating scraps and limping around with no clear objective. The street was filled with chopped down furniture. Miserable old couches were lying around. Broken chairs. Wretched dirty mattresses.
The bus station was someone’s house. All of his belongings were just casually standing there. Like it’s someone’s living room—I mean, it is, technically speaking.
I’ve noticed a guy standing across the streets. It is hard not to stare at him. His clothes are ripped apart. The shirt is so dirty you couldn’t tell if it’s yellow or khaki. Maybe even brown under the right light. It’s 50 shades of dirt. He might of be 25 or 40. You couldn’t tell.
The poor soul is standing near the crossroad. He’s juggling invisible balls in a mind-bending frenzy. Every so often he would drop one. This would provoke an intense reaction in him. Every time, he would yell out some incoherent curse.
The place is soul crushing. Daunting. The whole situation is heavy. It feels like a zombie apocalypse has already begun. Someone is going to try to eat my brains at one point.
These people are human beings, forgotten by the whole society. Even to me, they felt distant. Like they are not fully human. But they are, most of them are just unlucky. It could happen to anyone in this place. Like a roulette of your life, you never know where the ball is going to hit.
“They are all drug addicts,” a nearby guard said.
I guess she saw me contemplating the whole situation. How long was I standing at the entrance.
“But it is so many of them. They can’t all be the sole culprits of their life condition.” I replied.
“It Is a big problem we have here. Drugs. They will take your life, boy, if you consume them,” she said.
Her tone was condescending. It felt like she was rationalizing the whole situation. Like there was a need for good enough reason to dismiss these people around us. Caring for them would break her world-views. This short exchange of words was more for her peace of mind than it was ever meant to explain the situation to me.
“I heard downtown is even worse,” I said.
“I don’t really go there. But they are doing something about it. There are new shops and fancy restaurants popping up every day.”
“Where are these poor souls going to go when they gentrify the area?” I thought to myself.
“Thank you!” I said as I was leaving the doorway.
The guard looked at me and nodded with approval.
It was one of my first days here. I heard anyone can make it in this place. This was supposed to be a country where you are the creator of your own luck. Your own world. You, yourself are responsible for what happens to you. Destiny is merely just a creation of your doing. If you work hard, you can make it. You know, the famous “dream.”
Sure there were plenty of fancy cars around. Ferarri’s, Lamburginies, BMWs. It was a display of rich road fashion.
“Cars,” I frowned looking at the street around me. “They probably don’t even see what is going on outside.”
My heart was broken.
Welcome to Hollywood.