I know not everyone has the lifestyle / time in the day to live life on the L.A. public transit schedule. But just for a weekend? Leave your car parked at home, and see what happens.
This weekend, I was on a bus down Sunset, where a young kid, somewhere between 12 and 15, sat on the sideways seat at the front, and periodically leaned back to make eye contact with the woman in the first row of front-facing seats. He squinted a smile, wiggled his eyebrows like a Marx brother, and laughed as she winked back. Developmentally challenged, he showed pure joy through connecting with a stranger and making her smile. I couldn't stop smiling either, nor could the guy in a wheelchair or the driver, who both waved goodbye as the kid exited and waved wildly, four times, as the bus pulled away from the stop.
Today, walking back from a jog at the reservoir and then a run to CVS and Ralphs, back past the reservoir on my way home, during which hour I ran into Giovanni Ribisi not once but THREE times (as this is L.A., and he's clearly stalking me) I saw an elderly man crumpled at the curb, his cane tossed carelessly behind him, his eyes closed. I doubled back, and another woman stopped with me, to question him if he was okay. He may be drunk, the other woman said, but when my dad goes into diabetes shock, he looks drunk. The man opened his eyes to our questions, and convulsed a bit, but was non-responsive. I started to dial 911, then realized that a couple in a truck had stopped already, and were on the phone with the paramedics.
Though I wondered if I should have stayed to make sure he was okay, the woman and I walked away, assured the couple would wait til the ambulance arrived. We told each other to have good days, and I left feeling a little more connected to the strangers in my neighborhood. It's good to get out and walk, to pay attention to who might have fallen by the side of the road, whether literally or hiding it in their daily duties.
It's good to be car-free.