A Quiet Stroll Along the L.A. River

LA River - homeless camp

On occasion, I have been known to walk a dog.

I am also a citizen of a neighborhood that’s well-stocked with beautiful, stroller-wielding mothers, and their I was a drummer in a huge band in the 90s which explains why I’m fantastically wealthy, have a neck tattoo, and a wife that was born the year after I graduated from high school-husbands.

hipster dads

Hip dads make me violently ill. Every time I see a dad with a tote bag, an occupied baby bjorn, and the biography of some seminal Irish punk singer, I instantaneously projectile vomit. Which is a bit embarrassing, but there’s nothing I can do about it except avoid yoga studios, cafes, parks, Trader Joe’s, bicycle shops, wine bars, bookstores—basically my entire neighborhood. Thus I am forced away from the well-manicured park near the reservoir and sent under a freeway overpass to the L.A. River when the occasion arises that I must walk a dog.

The L.A. River is a nice combination of overly zealous “dad cyclists” from the valley and legitimate Glassell Park/Highland Park/Echo Park cholos who fancy drinking Tecates in the middle of the bike path. There are also homeless people who take solace by drinking cough syrup along the surprising lush cement basin.

So untamed and wild is the L.A. River that I once saw a woman crossing a two-inch deep stream of water on horseback. The woman was wearing a helmet. Up until a few days ago, a horse was the oddest thing I’d seen in the L.A. River since Ryan Gosling brought an Irish chick and a Mexican kid to have a romantic moment in Los Angeles’ puddle of flotsam.

Chilling, like all celebs do, on the LA River

But there I was, walking, strolling really, reflecting on how disappointing my tax return was this year when I heard the wails of a grown man. I peeked down the side of the basin and spotted a man in a tattered black suit. He was supine along the bottom of the dry river, and he was crying, just bawling while simultaneous masturbating. Which is a physical and mental feat of almost heroic measure. It’s honestly something that I would’ve assumed was impossible. I mean, really, how can a person cry and pleasure himself? It seems inherently contradictory. It’s such a deep and philosophical question that I feel inclined to avoid the subject entirely. Although, I have to believe it’s rooted in masochist tendencies.

But enough intellectual heavy lifting, I want to focus on the fact that he was masturbating with such fervor that I truly thought he might dislocate his shoulder and/or throw-out his back. And were these tears of pain? Had he in fact torn his rotator cuff and was gritting-down to finish the task “at hand” despite the agony? Or were these simply tears of joy?

The sad truth is I’ll never know. The dog, which brought me there in the first place, tugged onwards. There were poles and plants and concrete to sniff elsewhere.

Meanwhile, in the Silver Lake Meadow a hip dad is instagramming a picture of his child flipping through: An Abridged History of Second Wave Ska. As you read this, he’s busy revising the witty caption that will accompany the picture.

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