Monday, November 12, 2007

you can't fail me now

one can rarely sum up the weekend in a single word, but this weekend, at least for me, is easily so encapsulated.

the word is charity.

first, on friday night i covered for the l.a. times a benefit concert for guitarist don kirkpatrick, who is sick with cancer. he's a regular in rod stewart's touring band, so rod was the "special guest" at the key club extravaganza. it was kind of a weird night. coiledsoul and i had a table next to this group of folks who were there b/c one of the guys plays soccer with rod, and one of the several extremely enthusiastic blonde women was celebrating her 40th birthday. the organizers were holding a raffle that included guitars and signed albums and, i heard, fee waybill's "quay ludz" (or however you spell it) costume from some old tubes video. yeah, it was a night full of unfettered '80s nostalgia, although rod's four-song set steered clear of that era of his career.

the rest of the weekend was more like the old angel tagline "we help the helpless." (there's that charitable vampire above, no doubt poised to aid those in need.) late on saturday night, the helpless were thomas and patricia and their little dog too, parked across the street in their white car with a flat tire. that stretch of curb sees a surprising amount of action in general: the neighbors and their visitors park there, sure, but it's also the place where lost drivers and damaged vehicles (and, occasionally, folks busted by the cops) tend to pull over, after coming out of the switchbacks where curb parking is dicier.

these kids had their emergency lights on, and the flashing caught my attention. the guy got out of the car and inspected the front, flitted around, got in the car, got out of the car, stood by the trunk waving his hand, then got back in the car. this is odd behavior even for the canyon, and i couldn't help wondering what was up. so he looks up and sees me looking at him, and he waves frantically and shouts a greeting, tells me they need help.

it was well after midnight, but i waved him up. i mean, we tend to be suspicious of strangers, and the meme is that's for good reason, but OTOH sometimes it's obvious that people are in dire straits. after all, this is real life and not one fraught with innocent-seeming young men in distress who turn out to be vampires waiting for you to invite them in so they can suck you dry. and as such, who would approach a strange house in the canyon in the middle of the night if they had any other choice? besides, he had a AAA card and just needed a phone. he and the girl and the dog had been returning from the liquor store down on sunset and selma, and, apparently not realizing you can't make a left onto LCB from that little back road, he drove over a barrier and busted the car. they needed a tow back to appian way.

he made the call and went back to wait in the car. i could hear their radio playing, faintly. it took a while for the truck to come, but finally the guy showed, hooked them up, and hauled them away. we felt kind of good about it, like you do when you help folks out.

we don't get much opportunity to do such things anymore. this type of stuff used to happen more often, not only before the advent of cell phones but also before reception improved in the canyon. not so many years ago, people's phones just didn't work here, but that's rarely a problem now. tonight was a throwback, however, i think prompted by the two-hour power outage we had this (technically sunday) morning. the DWP fixed the electricity, so i got to watch the steelers pull a victory over cleveland outta their ass, but i noticed my cell reception was crappy the rest of the day.

so, again, 00soul and i were just chillin' late at night, when there came a thumping on the door so loud and surprising it made me scream like a girl. my main man looked out and beheld a young blond lad standing on the porch. it was around 1 a.m., and 00soul was like, "who is that?" i looked out and saw him, waving his iphone like a white flag.

his name was clint, and he was a little bit drunk and a whole lot desperate. he apologized for bothering us but explained his phone wasn't getting reception, and he'd just been booted out on the side of the road by a "psychotic cab driver" -- probably b/c he didn't know the exact address of his friend's house nor how to get there.

all right. this one would've been a perfect undead predator. but, again, not an actual threat. (in fact, i ruminated later that he might've been worried about us upon noticing the faux scottish dirk sitting on the coffee table.) we invited him in and gave him a land line to phone his pal. it was a cell phone number, of course, and it went straight to voicemail, so likely the friend wasn't having reception, either. poor clint. he was so blond and freaked out and smelling of some trendy metrosexual perfume. he brazenly said he'd pay us $100 to take him to his friend's place on a street off of wonderland, just around the corner but too far for him to walk. we doubted this offer but couldn't send him out in the dark in the state he was in. so we found the street on the map, and 00soul bundled him into the ghia and puttered up the hill.

after they left i started wondering if it was a good idea. the kid was basically out of options -- our only other thought was to call him another cab and draw him a map to guide him to his friend's place, but that seemed silly considering how close it was. still, i wildly hoped i hadn't been duped into serving some blood cult its latest sacrifice. (ahahaha.) but 00soul returned about 15 minutes later, having had one false start in finding the road and then spent some time while clint figured out which house was his friend's. he seemed not entirely certain he'd gotten it right, but he picked one, gave 00soul 20 bucks, thanked him, and toddled off.

and now i too shall toddle off, to bed, feeling like i did a little good in this world for once.

No comments: