The old Armenian woman approached my dog and I as we were standing at a stoplight in Koreatown. She was around 4’6”, with a shape not unlike a shriveled raisin. Her thin arms swayed back and forth in the wind ever so slightly, like empty skin flapping in the breeze. She looked at my dog with what I assume was a permanent scowl, and asked what breed he was. We spoke about dogs for a full 30 seconds before the crazy started to come out.
“You have to be careful with the dog,” the woman said in her thick accent, pointing to the busy street. I assumed she was referring to the cars speeding past. Nope. She was pointing at the Korean people standing on the other side of the street. “This neighborhood is full of Chinese. Sometimes they eat dog. Sometimes they eat people, too.”
That’s how you know it’s summertime in Los Angeles: When a weird, racist 70-year-old Armenian woman the literal size of a tree stump warns you that the Chinese are going to eat your dog while you’re walking him. That’s how you know. The signs aren’t always exact. Sometimes it’s eating dogs, sometimes cats, once in a while it’s selling a person drugs and then eating that person, but the overall message remains the same: It’s time to grab a hot dog and a beer, and fire up the ol’ barbeque.
Summertime in Los Angeles isn’t announced by songbirds or flowers, because we don’t have any. They’re all dead from the pollution that fills this smoggy toilet city. Instead, summertime makes itself known through the energy boost seen in our mentally deranged homeless community. That lady who thinks China and Korea are the same country wouldn’t have had the energy to be social a few weeks ago. Now she’s at the top of her game. It’s amazing what a warm breeze and a little sunshine can do for folks.
When summer is here, hobos become talkative, celebrities start “accidentally” flashing their ladyparts again, and the tamale carts ring that damned bell outside my apartment all day long until I want to kill myself just so I can once again feel the preciousness of silence. That’s when you know it’s summer. Also, sometimes a hobo will sneak up behind you and angrily whisper “It’s summer!” in your ear.
This “hobo theory” has remained trustworthy every year. In June 2014, a homeless man told a friend of mine that he wanted to lick her face. One week later, the temperature increased by a good seven degrees. Women stopped dressing their dogs in ridiculous outfits and started dressing themselves in revealing ones. Men began wearing those weird gym shorts where you can see the outline of their balls as they jog. Like a farmer’s almanac, energetic hobos always mean summer.
In May 2013, I watched a homeless man on the bus pace back and forth, babbling about how the TV show Jeopardy is fixed because no human could ever know that many different things. He noted that all the contestants on the show are robots or aliens. He also said black people aren’t allowed on Jeopardy, and the host is an anti-semite. It was at this point when the topic changed and I began disagreeing with his theories. He said peanut M&M’s are the best kind. No, not peanut butter M&M’s. Peanut. Clearly, the man was batshit insane. One week later, it was 90 degrees outside.
The signs of summer are different depending on where you live. In Duluth, you know it’s summer when you can exit your home through the front door instead of climbing out a window on the sunny side of the house. In Minneapolis, it’s when locals start dressing like European tourists with fanny packs and creepy bicycle shorts. In Wisconsin, you never know if it’s summer or winter because only people who are permanently blackout drunk have low enough standards to live in such a dumpy, second-rate state.
I should know. I likely still have alcohol left in my system from when I lived there in 2006.
Other than the armies of food trucks with giant meaty beehives of al pastor, the main reason I remain in Los Angeles is because of the reliability of the homeless seasonal detectors. They’re somewhat safe. They’re accurate. Those bastard seasons don’t sneak up on me anymore. Robins might be known for marking the start of spring, but they’re also kind of dicks about it. Sometimes they just don’t show up on time. Hobos are never late, because they’re always right where they mean to be: In your garbage cans, eating your tampons.
Come September, the hobos will suddenly turn quiet and listless, readying themselves for hibernation. This will mark the start of fall, when heroin is back en vogue, to keep them warm through those chilly autumn nights.