They say that cruelty is a result of many long years of an upbringing in hateful behavior. But I might add that a more extreme equally dangerous form comes from simple neglect of common sense. This quality would be something quickly shelved in the sunny paradise of any Southern California metropolis on any given day. The easy tempo of existence offers no challenge to the mind and as a result one is likely to encounter all manner of strange circumstances attributed to the lack of any attempt at foresight of some of its citizens. I recollect and incident that I as an average citizen happened to encounter when performing the unimaginable in the grand little perpetual ‘burbs’ of Los Angeles. I am speaking about walking on foot through an old but venerable section of that ever expanding grid of perpetual roadways. Having confessed to this shameless commission on my part to not be at least engaged as part of an auto bus provided guided tour I found myself walking past an unenclosed parking lot fully loaded with vehicles. Each one accompanied by a tall chest high parking meter biding their time waiting for a matron to walk past to wreak vengeance upon those who through mental oversight or lack of ready coin would flagrantly hope in their heart to shortchange the system of its rightful few grams of negotiable flesh. The transgression rewarded of course with a fine and a summons to pay some extraordinary financial penalty that would enlighten the every hungry coffers of the municipality and its officials. While this might have been considered as both acceptable and to be expected the sight that I spied besides one of the older but well-maintained luxury autos astounded my own sense of incredulity. A small Dachshund sat trembling in the sun leashed in such a manner that it was forced to fretfully balance atop a parking meter lest it slip and hang itself.
The car in the stall by the poor creature itself was identifiable to any living locally who had of late been apprised of the latest televised entertainment gossip that a former long forgotten luminary of stage and screen was engaged in what was unfondly referred as a comeback. Their car had even by Southern California standards had been so ostentatiously expensive and unique that its current reputation eclipsed its owner. Something given the fact that the lot it was parked in was immediately adjacent to one of the television studios that daily hosted celebrities that were in some cases caught trying to swim back upstream into fame and the glory of momentary public attention. Certainly one could surmise that such a state of mind targeted mainly on so challenging a mission would be unable to notice anything else in their immediate vicinity beyond the scent of waiting popularity wafting out from the studio awaiting their arrival. How what one could equally assume was her beleaguered pet might have found itself in such a miserable life-threatening physical state is beyond comprehension to and reasonable common sense thinking yet fully in line with the usual sort of antics one would expect from this town of entertainment savvy scatter brains. The poor animal sat perplexed by my approach. Shaking judiciously trying not to wag its tail too much lest it slip off to an ignominious doom. And a bit of ammunition for some celebrity reporter on a slow news day to use to make up a casual news byte headline about a former local great’s plunge into unfogiveable animal cruelty transgression. Like anyone in the news department could give a shit beyond a few extra rating points.
As it was up to me as some interloper still fielding my over preachy Midwestern attitudes I made it my task to immediately rescue the poor beast taking it town from its perch after detaching the other end of the leash. Care and kindness extending to a much needed watering and walk so the little canine do what all of its kind seem most prone to do in any urban setting. My sense of propriety lacking the requisite plastic bag to remove its trembling deposits. Seeing that fate in such a mercurial environment of every imaginable genetically customized show dog might lead to some inadvertent situation of harm to the little fellow by a viscous mean spirited four-legged rival I proceeded towards the studio’s entrance to find out if its owner was in some way prepared to take back custody ot its neglected little ward. I felt emboldened enough to pass a message on through one of the guards monitoring the entrance. something along the lines that ‘Ms So and So’ should be made aware that her beloved little pet was now safe from what I am sure was merely an oversight on her part. And that I would be happy to personally return her little pride and joy toy at her earliest convenience back out int he parking lot by her vehicle when her gala televised appearance had concluded. Some forty-five minutes later a very nervously conflicted but equally disgruntled old dowager waddled over unsteadily towards my direction. No entourage of autograph seekers within a half a mile or more. of the loaded parking lot to accept the rare gift of a small stack of autographed photos in the folder that was in the vise of one of her upper arms. The twin laser beams like fog suppressed beacons emanating from her sunglassses covered eyes as the sight of my leaning against her old chrome and steel warhorse. The little ‘poochie‘ now happily strangling itself on both its hind legs by its leach bound collar with my arm pulled to full extension at the other end of its forgetful master’s approach.
I could tell by the vibe in her immediate vicinity that her efforts at public reconciliation had not gone as planned. Though I was able to confirm the fact of same at a subsequent rebroadcast of a total airtime of some thirty seconds or so she had been handily eclipsed by the precocious interruptive verbal contributions of a much younger talent and soon to be rising star of a new prime-time comedy series about buoyant young lesbian schoolteachers in rural Mississippi in the nineteen-sixties. The aging starlet cut to the quick in quips suggesting that her heyday in the spotlight was a dark era of misinformed and misguided sensibilities that had brought the world as a whole into an age of perpetual political and social despair. The poor old bitch was trembling with wrath on a part that rivaled her pet when I had first encountered it. It was evident that the stored up negative electricity pertaining to her previous experience of the day would find the shortest distance to a convenient pole to arc to. That of course being me. The nebulous excuse being to ward off any responsibility for so ridiculously stupid an impulse as to solve the potential danger of placing her tiny pet out of reach of malevolent marauding canines. Her coolness in confronting me lacking any sign of ebullience in seeing her pet safe and rapidly concluding in a very insincere and terse thank you. The leash snatched unceremoniously from my hand the old fossil bundling both herself and her beloved companion into the equally aged four-wheeled steel behemoth and screeching off into the sunny California haze. No doubt in the direction of some nondescript forgotten apartment block for aging senior has been’s from the former film industry located in a neglected potion of the San Fernando valley. I standing there bereft of the material boon of one of the yellowed publicity photos that had slipped out of the back seat of her in her better days a half a decade before I was born. This thank you possibly an oversight or perhaps of unconscious scorn for some stranger that had seen behind the platinum image? Having pondered the situation later that night in light of the pathos of her overwhelmed by situation of providing fodder for a televised disregard as the butt of attack against her generation I could only feel sympathy. The most hateful and malicious party at fault not so much this fading talent but this damn town and its faux atmosphere of vain complacency that had its own perverse industry to support and maintain the fiction of it. Hooray for Hollywood!