Wednesday, April 8, 2015

La-la Land: Homelessness and selfie sticks

Life, such as it is, in La-la Land
On a recent trip to the L.A. area, I was surprised to see so many homeless people sleeping in doorways or in camps set up in various locations.

Tents were pitched in parks, on sidewalks alongside buildings and on sidewalks under freeway overpasses.

These tents and makeshift quarters covered up much of the sidewalks and didn't leave too much room for walking.

That's a good thing because at least the sidewalks in L.A. are getting used since most folks there seldom walk anywhere.

If you're going to be homeless, the weather in L.A. is ideal for living on the edge. It was in the low 90s to mid-80s while I was there in late March.

I know there are homeless people everywhere, including in Bend.

Eugene and Portland have issues of where the homeless can and cannot congregate.

But, in 2015, the stock market is at record highs, unemployment is at the lowest rate in years and gas prices are so low that gas-guzzlers are hogging the roads once more.

It is shameful that homeless numbers are increasing, mainly for children. There are an estimated 2.5 million homeless children in this country, an all-time high.

With one being best and 50 being worst, Oregon ranks 26th, while California ranks 48th, just ahead of Mississippi and Alabama in the number of homeless people.

It's another way America is exceptional.

At least we have selfie sticks, those handy poles that hold your smartphone far enough away from yourself that you can get a decent image.

And why not.

Some smartphones take such great photos that it's hard not to take multiple snapshots with them.

Plus, why bother innocent bystanders to take a picture of you and yours in front of some tourist trap.

Also, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are so demanding that they need constant updates.

The selfie sticks were out in force at Descanso Gardens, Huntington Library and Disneyland, where visitors actually walked and walked and walked.

I didn't see any homeless folks with selfie sticks, but I was driving by so fast that I didn't get a good look.

And, I can't say that I saw tourists taking selfies in front of homeless encampments. But, you never know.

I'll say this, though, California has it all, from perfect weather to theme parks to gridlocked freeways to tents on sidewalks to water woes. It's all so selfie-worthy.

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