The downtown LA reality show and “These arms are for hugging, not Hitting!”

A week or so ago, my friend, my friend Debbie and I went downtown for the evening. R&R for me. Mental health getaway for her.. ’nuff said.

My youngest – “The Punk” – and I moved there so she could attend a performing arts high school. She is a singer.. a good one (look for future recordings).

I never knew I would enjoy downtown but I do. I love some of the cool things we get to see and do. And it is like a full-time, always-on, reality show. Between the homeless, the vendors, the tourist, and the varied locals, you get a little bit of everything.

Debbie and I walked around starting near Pershing Square, up to the financial district, down to Broadway, Spring, Los Angeles Street, Little Tokyo, and more. We ended up at Olvera street after it was closed. Debbie took some pictures (bel0w). She is a photographer and so the evening was a halting series of photo stops throughout the city. I served as the “patient” model. (No.. I’m not that patient but it was her mental health outing so I shut my mouth.) I was also the traffic stopper.. when she had to stand in the middle of the street to “get that right shot” – my job was to watch for, and stop, oncoming traffic!

We decided to take the subway from Union Station back to Pershing Square… for the experience.. it delivered nicely.

We boarded the red line and waited as other riders got on. I was standing near the back of the car. A sketchy looking young guy, holding a staff, got on the train. He looked like a cross between a homeless hippie and a wizard. That’s the best I can come up with.

He immediately started talking to a random passenger sitting in front of him, explaining that he used the staff for protection when necessary.


the muscles of the mr???

Then he turned to me and said, “Hey Mr. Muscles, can I sit in that chair behind you.”

I said, “You called me Mr. Muscles, so yeah, you can do whatever you want.”

I moved so he could go by. When he sat down he started telling me that his friend taught him to street fight. And then it got even stranger.

He said, “I love running into guys like you.. big muscles, big arms.. They’re surprised when they tangle with me.”

Was he challenging me to a fight? It came across as an attempt to stake his ground – an odd way to create a safety zone.Which isn’t necessary.. I have no interest in trouble.. but???

So I flexed one arm a little and said, “These arms are for hugging, not hitting!”

“Yeah right!,” he responded.

As we got off the subway, I told Debbie, “That is what I love about LA.” It’s an amazing reality show!

And yes, hugging beats hitting any day!

Here are some of Debbie’s photos (taken on her phone). Enjoy!

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  1. Matt, is this yet another blatant attempt to show us your awesome muscles? : – ). You should ride the tube more often. Lots of material for a songwriter or writer. Loved the piece and your response was great. Seeing your muscles is always an added bonus!

    • I think I have two muscle images.. but, if the public cries for it… maybe.. 😉 Although, it is funny my perception of my arms versus what others see.. I think they’re so so.. body image issues I guess. That might be worth writing about.

      Regarding my response.. I liked it too. And it is how I feel.. I’ve given my fair share of hugs to homeless guys & girls I meet downtown. Everyone needs a share of humanity.

      Definitely songwriting material all through the city.

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