By CJ Gronner
The nature of Venice is on my mind a great deal lately … through decades and changes, the Bohemian nature and spirit of the place has always managed to survive. There’s been tough times all along the way for a good chunk of the residents, but the groove factor, and general desire for the well-being of people, place and planet has long trumped everything else. And I think it’s really, really important that it persevere.
So let’s address a few lame things, and a few good ones for balance. My longtime friend and companion, my bike, Delores, was stolen last Thursday from the inside of a tall fence at my brother’s place on Horizon. The two bikes sandwiching mine were left behind, so clearly the jerk thief had good taste, but that’s no excuse to steal from a neighbor. I get that times are tough. I’m unemployed at the moment. I have stress about gathering rent on a freelance writer’s iffy income. But it would never even occur to me to jack someone’s bike, or anything else of theirs, for that matter. Delores was my main transportation. Whomever took her – black, cool beach cruiser, straw basket, Obama sticker on the back, Hinano’s Girl on the front.
This is a Bike Amber Alert. I want her back. You have some rotten karma now, and Delores will most likely buck you off in my honor. I hope it hurts. You’ll get yours. Once I started telling people that mine was stolen, a whole bunch more similar stories came up, bike thefts left and right, but also skateboards, money, even cars. I’m sure you’ve been kept awake in recent days by the hovering Police choppers too, (do they REALLY need to keep at it for three hours in the middle of the night?) so it seems bigger crime issues are more prevalent these days as well.
As I type this I’m wearing a t-shirt gift from my friend that says, “BE KIND.” If we could all just remember that, things would be so much better for everyone. Even Bike Thieves. The shirt came from a new neighbor, Propr, on Abbot Kinney Blvd. Recently one of the owners had to be up on a ladder scrubbing graffiti off of their new awning. I get that people don’t love having fancy new shops take over the area. Gentrification can be a real thief of a town’s character, and it sucks when you can’t afford the posher merchandise inside. I get it. I STILL can’t go to Pinkberry – which I love – because I feel chains don’t belong in Venice. But when people are trying to be good neighbors, it’s a wrong message to send to deface their property.
I’ve waited five minutes in the middle of a crosswalk on Venice without one person thinking, “Oh, another human being. Maybe I should let them cross.” We seriously just need to, “Remember our humanity, and forget the rest.” as Einstein said.
The people that don’t want RV’s parking by their homes, I also get. The people who live inside do need to be clean, noise-level appropriate, and respectful – just like any neighbor. Which is what they are. That is where the majority of them LIVE. There needs to be more compassion all around, ESPECIALLY when times are harder. We need each other more than ever. In Venice, of all places, this should just be understood.
And it IS. By the majority of us. When you see the whole town come out for the Festival Of The Chariots, dancing and catching flowers, you feel confident that good will overcome evil. When you walk by your neighbor’s house and there is a bag of her fresh produce hanging off the fence with your name on it, you remember that at its heart, Venice is a small-town vibe made up of like individuals, that settled here to soak up the beauty, both of the city and its people. Not to victimize one another, Man.
When a new restaurant opens up in the neighborhood like Marla’s (2300 Abbot Kinney, south of Venice), where absolutely delicious food can be had at super affordable prices, you realize that businesses can still care about their clientele, and not just rape them with hotel-style tabs and rude service, like some of the other new scene spots on the Boulevard have done. It’s simply essential in a beloved place like Venice, that we heed the Golden Rule. Otherwise we become just another city, with crime statistics being more the news than the good works done by our fine citizens every day.
Let’s just remember that we all love this place, no matter what our circumstances are, so let’s stick up for each other, not stick each other up. Thanks a lot! Word.