Sunday, March 16, 2008

"Take me to the Next Phase"-Isley Brothers

Some people would find it hard to believe that in all of that cold steel, concrete and glass, there is a warm community that is alive and well. It is healthy, vibrant and growing. And I am a part of it.

Every journey has its special moments and I have experienced many special moments in my "Downtown Experience". Yesterday was another one of those moments. I walked through several parts of downtown. I was with Jeff Page, the Director of Marketing for the Skid Row Basketball League. Jeff gives me hell everyday if I become the slightest bit distracted in my "comeback". I must say I love it when he does that because it keeps me on track.

We were enjoying a carry over from Friday when we celebrated the fact that I would be starting a new job on Monday.Plus, we had spent a great day at City Hall, the day before, as well. Yes folks, I have a job. No it is not the job that I talked about so much. It is another position. However, I am thrilled. More on that later.

Jeff and I discussed how far I have come as well as certain details of his journey. We are very different in many ways and yet alike in many ways. The differences serve as a mutual check and balance of each other as we have different perspectives that come from age and other categories.

The first thing we did was walk up 5th Street. On Fifth and Spring st. we ran into an affair. I did not check to see what was going on because I had to get to the bank. However, Jeff and I saw developer Tom Gilmore at the affair. He was obviously enjoying himself being a part of the community that he began building some time ago. It was clear that the affair was some kind of promotion for an entrepreneurial endeavor.

I would like to say that I have seen Tom at several affairs that are promotional events for entrepreneurs in the neighborhood. He supports all of those who are trying to succeed and build businesses that serve the community. I want every one to know that.

Tom spoke to Jeff and I as he has seen us at a few events. I had been in Tom's office a few days ago. I had just come from court and enjoyed some success in that arena. I felt lucky so I went home and retrieved a resume and marched it into Tom's office, unannounced. I noticed a doll on the floor but for some reason I thought it belonged there. I found out who owned the doll. It belonged to a white dog.
Tom told me yesterday that that dog visits the office on Thursdays. It is the official dog for the Old Bank District.

By the way, I met Tom when I first moved into the Marshall House. That was in late September of last year. I told you guys on several occasions that I have followed him for years as I worked for a pioneer developer of historical properties in Philadelphia. I feel a takes a certain type of person to do that kind rebuilding. You must juggle many things and be able to deal with many different types of people. Most do not know that it takes one who is tolerant of many things to be successful in that market niche. Also, I might add that developers in that market niche want others to succeed and they support their efforts. A developer is only as successful as the success of the community they build.

Tom turned downed 4th street and headed for Main St. It is interesting that I run into Tom again when I began a new chapter in my Downtown experience. I met him right after I moved to the Marshall House. Now I see him a couple of days before I start a job. I am beginning a new relationship with downtown tomorrow. It is my third relationship phase. The first was landing at the Transition House. The second was moving into the Marshall House. Now I have a job in the area.

I went to the Wells Fargo bank on Spring St and deposited three more checks that I received from working on the movie set. I also had to see them about a bounced check that was written to me. It was the first bounced check writen to me in my life and it was a payroll check from a company whose stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. I saved that check as a back up in case my benefits ran out before I was able to get a job. I am glad I do not have to count on that money. There is no telling how long it will take for me to be reimbursed. I will not mention the name of the company. If I have problems, I will disclose the name. Hopefully, it will not come to that.

I also activated my debit card. Progress. Now I can purchase the course and materials for my continuing education course. Upon completion I can renew my real estate broker's license.

From there, Jeff and I went to the Grand Central Market on Broadway. I first visited the place a couple of months ago. I wrote about that. After I visited the place, good things started to happen. I trust that history will repeat itself.
Jeff visited a music store and obtained some documentation to submit to DLANC for approval of some equipment for the Basketball league and we headed out again.

I had a bag filled with groceries as we walked down 4th street to Main.

We stopped in Metropolis Books.

Jeff knew Julie the owner and they talked for a minute while I was struggling with my bags outside. Finally I entered the store and thanked Julie for picking out the book, the traveler, for me to read. It was funny because I had just talked about their store in the morning on my blog. Her husband found the sequel to the book that I read and they gave it to me. GAVE IT TO ME. That was very nice of them to that. It was a warm gesture. It was like another embrace welcoming me further into the community at large.

I mentioned to them that I had a blog, Scribeskidrow, and was very surprised that they had read it and enjoy it. "Oh, you are hooked up with Don Garza!!!", Julie's husband said. Forgive me for not mentioning his first name. It slips my mind but I still had to do the quote. I have his card at home but am not there. I will replace this later with his name. That is what I like about my blog. When I do not know I just say so and continue on with it.

Jeff and I left there and sent back to the heart of Skid Row where we live. On the way we discussed future possibilities. It was not long ago when I found it hard to be optimistic about the future. It took a lot of work by me and others to get me to this point.

It is like I told you-I must look around and see where I am at. Things have changed. I wont bore you with the details again but things are improving. With that comes increased confidence and the willingness to look beyond and see what can be done after walking through a "parched desert" of despair.

Even I have to admit that a lot of things have changed. Money in the bank. a job. My sister is communicating with me the courts are working with me. I have the money in time to renew my real estate license etc. I can plan now. and network from a secure emotional place rather than out of fear. I can relax a bit and enjoy the process. I can see myself climb.

The job is different from those that I have had in the past. The past positions were glamorous. This one is not but I will probably put more into this position and this period of time than anything else I have done in the past.

I said that Skid Row was a boot camp. I also said that training for the Triathlon at USC was a boot camp of sorts. Well, I say it again. this new phase is an advanced level of boot camp. IT is a new station on my come back trail and I am excited to be a part of it. I read a book at one time called "Lonesome Gods" by Louis L'Amour. It was about the early days of Los Angeles. The Pioneer days.

I feel that now I am entering a pioneering phase of my own. Furthermore, I am entering it as downtown is going through its own pioneering phase. It is a time where things are happening. I am witnessing a new downtown.

I know what it feels like to be a part of a new beginning. In Philadelphia, I worked for a historical developer and a real estate broker in an area that was undergoing significant change.

This time it is happening in my hometown while I am experiencing a change as well.
I am not just talking about my circumstances. I am talking about this phase of my development or redevelopment that started years ago when I decided to stop indulging in controlled substances.

It is an interesting time. Sure, there are concerns but I am able to envision overcoming concerns or obstacles. Confidence is rising. And a lot of it is due to the help of people in the downtown community. Each and everyone that has touched my life contributed to where I am right now. Where I am right now is more important than any job I had with a glamorous company. I know that feels and I know how it feels when I was empty inside of myself. It feels good not to be empty inside and I trust that that feeling inside will grow as will my fortunes and the fortunes of the communities that surround me. I trust that I will be able to contribute to that end.

Yes, in the midst of all of that cold steel, glass and concrete there is a warm soul and it is the collective soul of good warm people. I am looking forward to working downtown and being a part of it in a different way.

I said after my first three months of blogging, after experiencing new things that I wonder what the next three months would bring. Those three months are not quite over but I have summarized above all of the positive changes.

What will the next few months bring. I do not know. I will keep putting one foot in front of the other. I will keep blogging and explore ways of increasing my presence on the net and expanding my voice within and about downtown Los Angeles.
I will start a baby boomer section about fitness. As I said before. the possibilities are endless. I made it through a terrible storm. The skies are blue now. I am learning to believe it. Tomorrow is the start of the next phase. I love the pioneering spirit of Downtown LA.

Good night world, I love you.

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