Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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from Echo Park

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Black white trash

In Loftland, also known as Skid Row-adjacent by some agents:

Chicken Corner went downtown today, to visit Main Street's Nickel Diner for a 2.5 hours lunch, one full hour of which was spent waiting on the sidewalk for our six-top (we all ended up at a table for four, with six chairs). On the way to the Nickel, I passed a building that was advertising a loft-auction today -- there were lots of black balloons and white balloons, lots of guys who looked like the were working. I didn't see Browne Molyneaux, who later emailed that she'd been there, begging for spare lofts. "Will work for loft" is the sign she carries in a snapshot on her blog The Bus Bench. Indoors at the Diner was lively, with the staff appearing to be nearly overwhelmed by the rush. At one point we were served complimentary donut holes, including the tasty pre-negative space of two bacon donuts -- they were so good, they really should auction them, donut and hole alike. The high energy and good racial/economic/stylistic mix of people allowed the retro room to lift its nose above kitsch.

When we'd finally gone, we passed a white man in a wheelchair talking to two black men at the corner of 6th and Main. Said the white man to the black men: "It doesn't matter what color you are." I thought he was going to follow that with something treacly, but instead he looked hard back at the black men. "It doesn't matter what color you are, you're still white-trash rednecks!"

I turned to look at the black white-trash rednecks, thinking to myself, these are new times, and this is a paradoxical form of progress. One of the black men looked at me and offered a gentlemanly smile -- maybe he wasn't white trash, or at least not at that moment.

Other local color: passing a homeless person's service-center. One man stood at the curb, smoking a cigarette. Pigeons pigeon-stepped in front of him in the street. "Don't you be standing out here bothering those pigeons," came the booming voice of authority from the center's doorway. "Don't you bother those pigeons, now."

Response: "These are my pigeons" and something to the effect that he wasn't bothering them.

"Well, you still don't bother them."

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