Even the Dogs are Racist

Posted: October 8, 2012 in The Road to Skid Row

Some things  in life are guaranteed. Will & Kate will adorn the covers of gossip rags, Meryl Streep will win an Oscar at least once a decade, and pick-up trucks full of Mexicans will drive into Beverly Hills every morning.

If it weren’t for Jackson, I probably wouldn’t have noticed how Beverly Hills swings to its own rhythm. Our morning walks coincided with a daily ritual in Beverly Hills. Rusty old pick-up trucks pulled up outside beautiful McMansions and dropped off teams of Mexican labourers who quickly got to work with their leaf blowers, lawn mowers and hedge clippers. Jackson hated them. If we walked too close to them he would explode into a tirade of barking and desperately try to savage them. That’s the kind of town LA is. Even the dogs are racist.

While Mexicans were busy manicuring the already perfect lawns and gardens, housewives and retirees were out jogging or walking their dogs. Some people, usually older folks, stopped and chatted for a while. One guy in his sixties talked about a border collie he worked with on a movie. An old Jewish man stopped and talked for nearly ten minutes about how he loves his new puppy. We met him again a few days later while he walking his dog. Not feeling sociable, Jackson growled and barked at the him. The old timer didn’t chat much after that.

Afternoon walks were more relaxed. Sometimes we would see kids coming home from school. They climbed out of big SUVs, their little legs just able to touch the concrete driveway. We saw a kid selling lemonade one afternoon. I thought I had walked onto a movie set – there was this little girl standing behind a table shouting “lemonade!” every ten seconds. She was cute, but she didn’t get any customers. Maybe her screechy little voice pissed off the neighbours? Either way, the cheap bastards wouldn’t even buy lemonade for 25₵ a cup. (I legitimately left my wallet at home, I will tell you now.)

Most teenagers I saw looked depressed. They wore miserable faces like they grew up in a garage in Seattle, listening to grunge music and fighting rats for food. Hatred emanated from their eyes whenever they looked at their parents; their voices harboured the kind of resentment you hear about when they profile serial killers on the news. Norman Bates was Californian, wasn’t he?

Evening walks, by contrast, were peaceful. Night settled on Beverly Hills like in a fairy tale: houses and gardens lit up with twinkling lights, sprinklers danced their wasteful waltz and quiet filled the suburban streets with the kind of tranquility only money or death can buy. Jackson preferred evening walks too. Hardly anybody was out, so he could take a dump on the swankiest lawn around and it would be our little secret – or not so little, depending on his constitution. (Note: I did pick up his turds. I am not that big an asshole!)

I looked west from an alleyway and saw the high-rises of Century City looming in the dark. Because Beverly Hills is higher than Century City I was looking down on the skyscrapers –a genuinely disorientating experience. Walking back to the house I passed more tinkling water features, illuminated lawns and jasmine bushes with their delicate scent.

Every night the grass on those lawns grows 2 millimetres. Just long enough for the truck full of Mexicans who show up the next morning.

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