Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Learning the Rules of the Street

Last week, close to the end of my workday, my co-worker calls me that she has a flat tire down the street and if I could go help her. She was within walking distance and I started to head over there. As soon as I turn the corner, I find myself looking at this:

First, it was something I had no expectation of seeing - at all. She asked me to come help her with the tire so I had assumed she would be waiting for me and well, we are in Hollywood. People help one another in Hollywood? So I go up to her and ask if she's ok and she gives me this look that she is fine but that I wasn't allowed to leave her. So I stayed.

This guy starts talking to us and I offer to help him get the car up with the jack because he is having trouble turning it. He waves me off and starts huffing and puffing yet again. I had noticed that he had a big duffle bag next to him in the street and figured that he was homeless. Immediately wondered if I had any cash to give him in case Denise didn't. I had $2.

After a while, the man asks if I could help him get the jack going because he was getting tired. Now this jack is one of those annoying jacks that the bar has a pivot in the middle because you can only go from one side to the other and then switch the bar back to do it again. What was worse was that we weren't level with the car or the jack, we were sitting on the curb. So bent over and trying to turn that bar was not the most comfortable thing to be doing.

As we are tag teaming the jack, people keep coming up to us and asking us if we need help. The guy (and yes I will continue to refer to him as The Guy because we never got his name) kept waving them off with thanks. We finally get the tire off and are having trouble getting the spare on when I smell the distinct odor of the mary jane. Its was like a cloud just arrived over our heads. We turn and there is this guy hovering over us asking if we need help. The Guy (our guy) turns and basically lashes out at Mr. Mary Jane. Saying "I know you, dont think I dont remember what happened yesterday, I saw you following her!" Mr. Mary Jane looks at him and says, "Dude I'm just trying to help" and The Guy yells back "We dont want you here! Go away!" Um, yeah it was freaky weird.

At that moment, Denise and I probably had the exact same thought. "Were we this homeless man's property?" And then I wondered how fast I could bring this car down after we tightened the lugnuts on the spare that we still had to get on. He told us that the day before he had seen Mr. Mary Jane following some woman and he followed them to make sure that she got to wherever she was going safely. At that point, Denise got down on the curb and in one shot got the spare on. No lie.

After The Guy tightens the lugnuts, he asked if I could get the car down. Yes, I realize that I'm doing half the work that this guy is going to claim the win on. So I'm bringing the car down and he asks Denise if she's my mom. Now, Denise is 3 years older than I am and earlier that day we got confused for sisters (its the curly hair and glasses). We had joked that we should create some elaborate story that we were long lost relatives or something - so this came with an extra shock. We had a good chuckle as I double timed the bringing down of the car, of course he flies in at the last minute to "wrap it up". He gets up and we thank him for the help. He says that he was happy to do so since God had asked him to help. Denise hands him $5 and apologizes for not having any more. He thanks us once again and turns to leave. I turn to Denise and ask her for a ride back to the office and we couldnt stop laughing all the way back to the office.

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