Somewhere in LA, thereís an underground demand for shopping carts. I know this because Iíve seen the demand in action. Iíve seen the shopping cart economy function. And in my very own cul-de-sac. Two days ago, a shopping cart appeared on the curb outside my house.
I live at the end of a cul-de-sac in Echo Park. Itís as reasonable a place to ditch your shopping cart as any, I suppose, so the appearance of the cart wasnít what surprised me. What surprised me was its life after it arrived.
First, I moved it. Who wants a house with a shopping cart parked in front of it? Against the cautions of a friend that it was ìcovered in the hivî, I pushed it (granted with only two fingers) further away from my house towards the cul-de-sacís dead-end. ìAt least now it doesnít look like it belongs to meî, I thought. Iíd have gotten rid of it through the proper channels, but who knows what the proper channels are? Besides, I figured it would be interesting to observe.
I was right.
The cart sat next to the drainage opening at the end of my cul-de-sac for one whole day and two nights. It sat there, unmolested. Until today.
Today, I crawled out of my hole of a back office currently housing me and every fan I own (the kind that blow airÖI donít own any of the other kind). Iíd been working with the blinds drawn and the doors closed just trying to get the temperature below 79 degrees. But since I keep my laptop disconnected from the Internet (to avoid distractions), I had to go into my front office to send an email. While there, I looked out my window at the shopping cart at the end of the cul-de-sac. There I saw two girls of high school age approach the cart. At first I thought they were going to take it away, but then I realized they were going to use it as a backdrop for their photo shoot. More accurately, they were going to get in it and use it as the entire concept of the shoot.
Incapable of avoiding absurd human interaction, I yelled from my obscured window. ìHey! Get out of my shopping cart!î The expression on the girlsí faces could best be described as confused. The one in the cart made a move to get out (very respective of property these youngsters). Worried that Iíd ruined their photo shoot, I quickly followed up with ìIím just kidding.î But by then, theyíd become quite self-conscious and made to leave. As they headed towards the pedestrian overpass over the 101, I yelled, ìTake that thing with you!î They stopped, still more confused, just now beginning to figure out what was going on. ìTake it across the bridge and leave it on the other side, will you?î The girls had a quick private conversation and yelled back, ìWeíll be back!î ìUh-oh,î I thought, ìshades of Me and You and Everyone We Know here.î I stopped talking, the girls left, and I went back to sending my email.
Maybe an hour went by. Iíd returned to my shade room and come back out after a good solid forty minutes of work. Back on the Internet, I looked out the window and noticed an older Latino couple assessing the shopping cart. The woman moved it back and forth, testing its action, the trueness of its alignment. I looked away for a second and when I looked back, it was gone. They had taken the shopping cart.
ìTo what end?î I wondered. Obviously not to return it to the store from which it was originally taken. It didnít have the necessary identifiable marks to do that. This couple had some other use for a shopping cart. And what better shopping cart than one left abandoned at the end of a dead-end cul-de-sac in Echo Park?
So now the shopping cart is gone. And Iím glad. After all, it was an unsightly thing that I wanted to get as far away from my house as possible. The thing is, now that itís gone, I wonder what sort of adventures itís on. While Iím here in the same room typing meaningless gibberish that no one will read (not this postÖthe stuff I was working on in the back room), my shopping cart is out about town, transporting food or drugs, maybe aluminum cans, babies, or Jehovahís Witness literature. Whatever itís doing, Iím sure itís a lot better than hanging out for three days at the end of my cul-de-sac. Nevermind that I do that every day.
Note: this post is more enjoyable if you click on the link to Me and You and then read the rest as set to the music from the website. Thanks Miranda! (like I know her).