Sometimes, I’m frighteningly dull-witted. A fact exemplified on the night I lost my keys at Trader Joe’s. After recruiting three Hawaiian-shirted employees to scour every open inch of the store, literally crouched between the legs of the other 9,999,999 post-work-rush shoppers, I headed to the parking lot. I found no keys on the route back to my ’94 Olds 88, but once there, that glorious golden sedan greeted me with a reassuring purr. My keys! Inside. With the doors locked. And the engine running. After about 15 minutes of struggling with a hanger as patron after patron drove past, scowling at my occupied parking spot, one kind-faced older man rolled down his window. “I have Triple A,” he cooed. I responded despondently, “You’ll have to wait here with me…” He immediately pulled into a spot that had just opened a few cars down and turned off his engine. (Fucking. Show-off.) Rob—45, entertainment industry, divorced, North Hollywood, surfer, Daniel Day-Lewis, yoga, My Morning Jacket, TJ’s frozen eggplant primavera—proceeded to wait with me for an hour for the mechanic to arrive.
We talked about work, our hometowns, and our lives. We drank his brand spankin’ new bottled water. We bonded.And before getting into my newly-opened vehicle, I embraced this new friend, careful not to mar his t-shirt with my bag of melted Mochi balls. My knight in shining white pick-up. I called my mom on the drive home, almost in tears, waxing poetic about how, in this busy, oft-lonely city, there are still kind people who will take the time to help a stranger. Forget that boss who made me leave a Dodger’s game to pay his cell phone bill. Or that person-not-named-Michelle-Lewis who charged $147 to my bar tab last weekend. Or the asshole who pissed on my couch. I knew it. I always knew it. Deep down, people are good. The entire world might write off this city as a beacon of hedonism and selfishness but, when it comes down to the individuals, Angelenos are GOOD. From her cozy 3-story home in the hills of rural Tennessee, my mom heartily agreed.
That night, before I drifted off to a sound, happy sleep, I sent Rob a euphoric text message: “I made it home. I can’t thank you enough!” And the next morning, I woke up to his response: “Well, a blow job and a bubble bath might suffice.” I joined triple A.
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