Venice Beach, California.
It would be easy to come here and live on the beach, lots of people do it. There’s sunshine, showers and pizza.
It doesn’t feel like the healthiest atmosphere however, mainly because it’s filled with marajuana smoke.
To support yourself you can sell your bob marley paintings, pirated internet banksy prints, you can busk, or, you can beg with a “need money for penis reduction sign.”
One guy asked me for money on the way to the shop. I told him no. He said “I’m rich,” in a sarcastic tone and walked away. He seemed peaceful and it pissed me off. Do you know how much money I’ve given away to beggars? Do you think what money I have fell from the sky? I knew I was losing my way when I felt angry at someone else who asked me for money. They didn’t say thankyou.
Bill Pettis hangs around on a park bench outside the famous Venice Beach Muscle Gym, he wears speedos. I assume he’s homeless. When tourists attempt to take photos of the carved bodies heaving weights within the perimeter Bill gets in their way flexing one of his biceps and holding a portable radio up to his ear. People screw their faces up and navigate around him, he mumbles to himself and shuffles back to the bench. He only has a couple of teeth left and is quite incomprehensible, but Bill used to be somebody. He was a famous body builder 35 years ago, friend of “Arnies” and apparently had the biggest arms in the world.
I took a picture of him when he wasn’t looking and offered him a dollar, he accepted it and stuttered thankyou with a gentle gaze. Watching his primitive endeavours to reclaim the importance bodybuilding awarded him many years ago moved me at a deep empathetic level. I want to help him, but how? Money wont help. I can’t find his marbles for him, he’s the only one that can do that.