Things For People

No strong convictions about this blog site to speak of. Just occasional musings inspired by things that transpire outside my window: LAPD helicopters searching for fugitives, transvestite prostitutes wrestling with their pimps at 3am, and the chubby kid next door who sings in the shower 4 times per day.

My Photo
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Sunday, November 10, 2002


I am still trying to figure out how, in the grand scheme of things, I ended up in this situation. Last night I was driving to my friend’s house near East LA. I couldn't remember his address, and his cell-phone doesn't work in his house, so I drove around aimlessly for 30 minutes hoping I would stumble upon it. I finally figured out where it was, but the next obstacle was finding a place to park. I drove up and down side streets until I found a very steep hill that was relatively empty. I pulled in behind a big SUV to park with my truck facing down the hill. I felt like I should give him a little more room, so I put it in reverse to back up. It has been raining for two days, and the streets are very oily here. I couldn't get any traction, and the truck moved forward until I was pressed up against the SUV while my wheels spun in reverse. I could smell the burning rubber, which I thought was my clutch at first. I learned all kinds of colorful new words to scream. I put my emergency brake on, turned the car off, and put it in gear so that I could get out and assess the situation. There was no damage because there had been no impact. The two cars were just pressed together at the bumpers. I could, however, hear both vehicles slipping centimeter by centimeter down the hill every 10 seconds or so. I had visions of my truck pushing the SUV just enough to get some momentum that would send it crashing into the car in front of it that was about 20 yards down the hill. This would in turn cause that car to crash into the insane traffic on the busy street in front of it. For some reason my e-brake and transmission were not sufficient to hold the truck in place, which made me think I had possibly burned up the transmission. So I got back in the truck and pressed down on the foot brake as hard as I could. I was trapped in my truck, unable to take my foot off the brake for fear of the worst possible scenario. My friend came around the corner to help me out, but there wasn't much he could do without some kind of rope or chain. I was going to call a tow truck, but my phone wasn't working right in that neighborhood either. So my friend walked around to the different houses and knocked on doors to find the owner of the SUV. It was 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday night. When he found the family that owned the car, they all came outside. It was a pretty big family, and they were not happy. I was trying to laugh it off by explaining that there had been no impact, so there wouldn't be any damage, and that I was just an unlucky person stuck in a silly situation. All they needed to do was move the car up a little bit so that I could move the truck and get out to help them evaluate any damage. They weren't very cooperative people. They wouldn't move the car up until I had given them all of my information, so I had to reach over and dig through my glove box while still pressing on the brake as hard as I could, which I had already been doing for almost half an hour. I was starting to become not-so-friendly, but politely explained to the owner that I was getting really uncomfortable because I couldn't exit my vehicle. The owner wouldn't even talk to me. He had his daughter interpret for him while he and his buddy discussed in Spanish that I was "a dumb gringo who will just drive off as soon as we move the car." My first instinct was to tell them that I could understand every word that they were saying, but I somehow received more satisfaction by pretending I didn't and just listened to their conversation. I guess it was sort of like seeing two people stand there with their flies open, and not calling their attention to that fact. They were taking forever with the whole process, which was really not that complicated. We were trying to make it to a birthday party and were already late. I started to feel kinda bad because I was no longer being very nice to the girl who was doing the interpreting. She could sense that and it was making her uncomfortable, which was crummy because none of this was her fault. My friend started arguing with the guys. "Just move the car, why won't you just move the car? If there's any damage it's only getting worse with the cars stuck together." Suspicious Lopez and his cousin Chico would have none of that. They finally moved the car after stalling for a good 20 minutes. There was no damage whatsoever. Of course, since it was dark, "we can't see how bad it is." To which I replied, "That's why I'm pointing the headlights directly at the bumper, so you can see it." They started whispering stuff that I couldn't hear, and immediately I smelled a rat. Luckily, my friend lives right around the corner, so he went to get his camera and take a photo. To which they responded, "You won't be able to see anything in the picture, it's too dark." To which my friend responded, "That's what a flash is for, I'm a professional photographer." To which they reluctantly responded, "Oh." It was like talking to a bunch of children. I felt obligated to apologize, but changed my mind and just drove off.