No, I'm not talking about the hot podium girls waiting for us at the end of the tour in Chicago. I'm talking about Tourette's Syndrome, the neurological disease that causes people to blurt out interjections and obscenities. I think that most large towns have at least one unlucky afflicted resident that walks around talking to him/herself, offering the occasional obscene outburst. Santa Monica is no exception, as I met several such people this morning while out for a pre-tour training ride.
This morning when I woke up, I noticed that Santa Monica Boulevard was completely deserted. As hectic as it was yesterday afternoon, this morning it was equally tranquil. I figured I would take advantage of the conditions and ride down to the Santa Monica pier while it was empty. Maybe I'd also head south to Venice Beach. A nice short easy ride as a final prep for the tour.
When I arrived at Ocean Avenue, I was met by a significant contingent of homeless people. In retrospect, I could recall seeing them on Thursday afternoon too. At that time they were surrounded by thousands of other people, so they were not so noticeable. But at 6 am on a Saturday, they owned the place. A lot of towns have their share of homeless people, but Santa Monica seems to have a few more than most places I've been. Several were quite vocal. Few places come to mind when I try to think of a place with more caustic homeless chatter. Maybe Philadelphia. Ironically, I am also hard pressed to think of a place with a higher density of $100,000+ convertibles. Santa Monica Boulevard is a virtual car show. It is interesting how extreme contrasting cultures often become neighbors, creating a bizarre sense of simultaneous balance and imbalance.
I've often thought that all people share something with Touretters. Seriously, who among us hasn't had an experience where we said the perfectly inappropriate thing at the perfectly inappropriate moment. The human brain is a complicated machine. It is not unreasonable to postulate that the human ability to improvise eloquent extemporaneous speech is just a few neural connections removed from the inability to control extemporaneous raw speech. Perhaps it is this subtle connection that gives the random outbursts of the Touretter just enough normalcy to grab your attention and force you to think about language in a new way.
As I was returning from Venice Beach, I passed a guy who was pacing rapidly in front of a bank. He was quite kinetic -- waking very fast, waving his arms, shouting, etc. I thought about snapping a photo, but the guy was pretty hyper. And wiry. He looked like he could catch me, if he were so inclined, before I could get up to speed. So I passed on the photo. Hey, not every photo is worth the risk. Anyway, as I rode past him, he shouted, "Kill the fuckers! Kill the fucking defecates!". I was immediately struck by the use of the word 'defecate' as a noun. Maybe that usage is in the vernacular out here in LA, but this was the first time I've ever heard it. I took the meaning to be a pejorative label for someone of ill-repute. Original. Effective. Unique.
Have I mentioned that I cannot wait to get out of LA? Next time I'm here, if I cannot avoid it, I will at least know better than to arrive early. Randy Newman and I will just have to agree to disagree on the LA issue.
Route: Santa Monica / Venice Beach Loop
Distance: 9.5 miles
Speed (avg/max): 10 mph / 20 mph
Riding Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hours 4 minutes
Heart Rate (min/max/avg): ?? bpm / ??? bpm / 145 bpm
Miles this Year: 1883