Unsolicited Advice

I had this friend that did phone sex. It was an easy way for her to pay the bills until her career as a Rock and Roll singer took off. I went to see her play one night and she had a song called “Coming on Deaf Ears”. After the show, I asked her if that song was about her phone sex job. She said, “It’s not cumming on deaf ears, it’s coming, and it’s about people not listening or caring.” Which is kind of what I thought in the first place.

Sky writing drifts illegibly across blue horizon.

Sunset Boulevard is busy today. Several men are working the traffic stops with cardboard signs. One guy seems to have an entire paragraph written on his sign. When he finishes his strut up and down the cars waiting for green lights, I decide to talk to him. I say, “Hey, bud, what does your sign say?” He tells me a long story about how it explains he is not a criminal and just needs a little help. I suggest to him that it might be too much information to expect anyone to grasp in his limited interaction with the public. I say, ” You know the MTV generation has turned into the Twitter generation. You need to be concise these days. Could you get to the point faster with your sign?” He looks at me blankly and I say, ” Something like ‘Please Help,’ ‘God Bless’ or the simple ‘Out-of-work Yoga Teacher'”.

He says it’s important to tell a story. I guess it’s his line of work… I’m not going to argue. A man approaches us and says something I can’t understand. I say, “What?” and he talks louder and food falls out of his mouth. But I still don’t understand him. He then turns to my guy with the sign and I finally understand him. “Spare a quarter for the homeless?” My guy with the sign waves his sign at the guy who is hard to understand because he is talking with his mouth full and is also wearing no shoes, socks only, and one of the socks is almost falling all the way off his foot so it jumps around like a fish out of water as he walks. The guy with the sign continues waving his sign wildly and says, “Can’t you read, mother fucker?!?”

Nine times out of ten, unsolicited advice is unwanted. I would even venture to say 5 times out of ten, advice that is asked for is unwanted.  I’m learning “slowly” to be quiet.  People just want someone to listen to them, not to have to listen to me. It’s no wonder therapists get paid so much.

Want to do something to help the homeless in Los Angeles?  You can Start here: Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition

About  Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition

Every night between 6:15 and 7:30 a community comes together at the barren street corner of Sycamore and Romaine, along the border of Hollywood and West Hollywood. On the one hand – on one side of the table – are the volunteers of The Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition, a broad-based grass-roots organization which for the past 22 years has served a hot, fresh, and nutritious meal every night to the homeless and hungry. On the other hand are between 100 and 150 men and women who have somehow or other fallen through the cracks, and for whom the meal they are about to eat, sumptuous as it is, might well be the only meal they have all day.

The Food Coalition is comprised of actors, producers, writers, artists, teachers, journalists, lawyers, housewives, and a corps of former “clients” who help us pick up donated food all over town and prepare it in a kitchen just a mile from Sycamore and Romaine. Serving a meal to the “homeless and hungry” is the smallest part of what we do. We meet them on their own turf and talk to them – and listen. We get to know them as individuals, and, little by little, in all kinds of ways, we then help them to think better of themselves and to not be shy about asking for specific, practical help – which the Food Coalition, entirely unsystematically, then tries to provide. All together, volunteers and homeless, form a kind of microcosm of what the larger community ought to be, but now, in the big city, is no longer. The motto of The Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition is simply this (with no religious strings attached): I Am My Brother’s Keeper.

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3 Comments

  1. instantkarms said,

    March 29, 2011 at 8:55 am

    I suppose I like to wear signs because I’ve suddenly developed an affection for funny t-shirts. My newest says, in fancy script, “Fucking classy”. I like to wear that one to practice.

  2. instantkarms said,

    March 29, 2011 at 8:55 am

    BTW this is Boodiba.


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