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When I was growing up, my mother would purchase elaborately painted mailboxes from our local farmer’s market. And every time she put these up, some “punk” would drive by and smash it to bits with a baseball bat.

This story came to mind while I was walking through the Venice canals. I had not seen them before and as I was housesitting within walking distance, I felt it was about time.

In case you did not know, Mr. Abbot Kinney designed the once 16 miles of canals (modeled after those of Venice, Italy) in 1904. When the automobile became commonplace, many of the canals converted to streets and now the remaining canals have garnered enormous real estate values for the homes lucky enough to be located next to them.

This place is quite surreal. Like walking through some psychadelic water park. An idyllic, eclectic, wealthy neighborhood where the paved streets are replaced with waterways. Thankfully, the 3 hits of acid I had placed lovingly on my tongue had just kicked in.

What reminded me of that childhood mailbox story is that all the houses are surrounded by fences no taller than 3 or 4 feet! I don’t know if that’s to show off how gorgeous some of these homes are or some weird city regulation.

You can literally reach over the tiny rampart and take something or break something. I could walk by the $1000 BBQ and snatch a citronella candle or some daughters bracelet that she had taken off before going into the hot tub.

In fact, I noticed this about many of the affluent homes of Venice. There isn’t much in the way of security or separation of ones home from a passersby. No big ass lawn with a 20 foot tall electric gold-plated fence. No decent barricades to keep the riff raff from ruining or stealing something. There’s an unusually trusting vibe I get from much of this neighborhood. At least what I’ve walked through so far.

After my canal perusal, I walked up to the Venice boardwalk, imagining myself taking a relaxing stroll along the beach. Um..no.

It was an onslaught of chaos, as one would expect from Venice Beach at night. Thousands of people coming at me, many of them teenagers. Get me outta here. Ooh! Is that an empanada stand?

As I sped up my walk, I pass by random reggae blaring from the tinny, blown out speakers of some bong shop to the arabic techno coming from a falafal joint to the infamous roller skating guitar player whom I’ve already seen twice today on two separate outings (is he homeless?).

The tourists had all but disappeared. It was just me and them.

I did not purchase a bong or a falafal, instead I hurried home to read a Harry Potter book. How edgy is that??