We were stopped at a red light on Hill Street, downtown Los Angeles, near the Grand Central Market and the jewelry district. We were the second car from the corner, waiting to make a right on red but the car in front of us couldn’t turn—as the driver of that car was in a heated argument with some crazy dude on a bike stopped in front of her. I couldn’t see the driver but say her only because her head did not appear over the little, black Mercedes headrest—a small person, probably a woman, older, I thought incorrectly. With windows closed I could hear the crazy dude cursing like crazy, incoherently, giving no clue as to his beef with the driver. He spit on her windshield multiple times and finally biked away as the other drivers, the many pedestrians and my carful shook our heads in disbelief.
We were stopped again by the light in the next block, Mercedes to our right, and the dude on the bike appears out of nowhere and continues his rampage. The woman, a small, young Asian woman with a blond dye job and edgy haircut steps out of the car and starts screaming at the biker, Jesus no lady, get the hell back inside the car. She does. The man starts kicking her door, pulls his bike away to reposition, and again, out of nowhere, a pedestrian I recognized from the first corner comes racing towards the crazy man and body slams him and his bike onto the street. He kicked the man several times in the face and gut and the crazy dude on the bike lay face down, unconscious, in a pool of his own blood.
Holy shit. I was sure he was dead. I looked around our car and there were at least a dozen phones capturing the assault. All I could think of was he’s dead, lets get out of here, please, go around. We did. My fellow passengers tried to assure me that the man wasn’t dead but I wasn’t totally convinced—he remained motionless and face down as we made another right turn and lost sight of the body. Wow, wow, wow. I had never seen anything like that. City of Angels and Demons.
But the reason for this trip downtown was in fact the jewelry district—I wanted to sell my engagement ring—and in doing so, the second assault. Not that anyone treated me unkindly, not that I had strong romantic feelings regarding this ring. My ex-husband and I are friends, he will forever be an important person in my life but this ring was no longer a symbol of love shared, and interestingly, the ring I wanted to sell was actually my third engagement ring—the first stolen from our home and the second lost in the Chesapeake Bay. Clearly, the ring no longer held the significance it once did. But it was an assault to my ego, an older woman with her adult son navigating the diamond district for cash, which yes, I needed and wanted. I hoped to heaven I didn’t look desperate (perhaps too strong a word to describe my financial situation) but it sure as hell felt as if I did. I met every jeweler in the three shops we visited, all of them men, straight on in the eye, seemingly proud but it was humiliating and embarrassing to say the least. Back to the first as he was the only gentleman to make an offer. It felt as if I had been body slammed.
I left downtown that day with some diamond education, a little bit of cash in my wallet—not at all what I foolishly hoped for—and the image of an unconscious, bloody man on the street. I’m still shaking my head thinking about it all but better now that I’m removed from the wreckage and no longer sitting before a man with a loop and bad news. No regrets about selling the ring. I did what I had to/wanted to do and can safely say that the jewelers of Los Angeles have seen plenty of gals like me. And I bet you the residents of Los Angeles are no strangers to street violence but this day took me to the edge and back. A double assault, double whammy, double feature starring angels, demons and diamonds.