I’ve had a little flexibility in my schedule for the last two weeks (read: writing time which I have been squandering), so my wiener dog Hamburger and I have been hitting Runyon Canyon just about every morning. For those non-Angelenos, Runyon is a fairly large hiking trail/off-leash dog park, right in the middle of Hollywood. You and your free-roaming dog can hike up a steep hill and be rewarded by incredible views from Downtown Los Angeles out to…well I’ve never been able to see the Ocean, but Century City for sure.
Yesterday the downhill leg of our walk was interrupted by an enormous police vehicle, driving up the paved side of the path and threatening to run over our liberated dogs. But I am always one to bow to authority so I scooped up Hamburger and stepped aside, only to find out what the commotion was all about. Behind the SUV were about ten pairs of hikers in brightly-colored t-shirts, bearing the logo “Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weight-Loss Challenge.” They looked miserable to say the least, which I suppose it sort of the point of this kind of programming. But the really sad part were the camera and audio people actually running up the hill backwards, loaded with pounds of equipment, attempting to catch the weight losers’ pain on film. At 10 am on a Sunday morning. On Labor Day weekend. I hope they were getting paid boatloads of money.
And then, maybe a hundred feet later, Hamburger and I passed the saddest person of all. The 22-year-old anorexic-thin PA, who had been saddled with all of the water bottles. All of them. The weight of this load was threatening to tip her balance and send her over the side of the canyon at any moment. There’s no possible way that she was getting paid enough for that job. But up the hill she trudged.
I suppose we all have to do our time at some point or another.