We spent quite a bit of time on L.A.'s Metro Red Line subway yesterday, traveling the length of the line from Union Station to Hollywood to North Hollywood and back to Union Station. It's always quite a parade of people and personalities. During the week I'm sure the trains are packed with commuters, but on the weekend it draws a different crowd.
On the way to Hollywood at our second or third stop a gentlemen in an electric wheelchair got on board. He seemed cordial enough, chatting with some of the people sitting near him. He got off at the Hollywood-Vine stop and continued on one more stop to Hollywood-Highland.
After eating lunch and watching the craziness down at the Chinese Theater, Kodak Theater and Hollywood-Highland Center, we decided to walk the mile down Hollywood Blvd. to the Hollywood-Vine subway stop and pick the train up there. The walk down Hollywood Blvd. is always interesting - more tourists, locals in various states of disarray, and of course all the stars on the sidewalk. As we approached the subway station across the street from the Pantages Theater, here was our wheelchair guy again. Apparently he had been commuting to work...or at least to the sidewalk by the subway station where he was begging for change from the passersby. I guess the neighborhood where he lives is not as lucrative. He's a commuter.
On a side note, I don't think I've ever seen as many people pan-handling as there were on this trip. Twice on the subway we were approached by women with small children holding little hand-made signs seeking donations. And they were just about everywhere along Hollywood Blvd. Both sad and disturbing, but certainly a sign of the times.