Downtown Lalo

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Lost on Hope Street

with 4 comments

I was walking with my wife home from work — the library — at 8:15 pm last night. Going south between 7th and 8th, just past the Rite Aid , a young lady was walking in the same direction right ahead of us. She seemed lost, looking side-to-side, and suddenly rotated towards us, looking frantic and asking where was 6th and Main. She had gotten off the 7th Street Metro station to meet up with a friend at a bar called “Varnish” and was told it was only a couple blocks away and she … was … lost.

We gave her directions. I asked her if she wanted a ride. My wife looked at me funny, but she understood. No time for a young lady … her name was Marie Helene, she’d come up from South Gate, but was really from France, was trying to get a job as a 3D animator … to be walking through the “historic corridor” at night.

My daughter brought down our card key to the garage. We got in and drove to the address she was given, which turned out to be Cole’s. She thanked us, gave me her card and got out of the car.

Driving back, my wife and I talked about how strangers seem to gravitate to us for directions, assistance, advice, etc. Must be because we are comparatively small and non-threatening. When we got back to our garage and parked, I looked into the back seat and there was her cell phone. I walked my wife back to our loft and took off to Cole’s. As I drove out of the garage, her phone rang. It was Marie Helene. She forgot her phone. I told her I was on my way. She thanked me. A minute later, her phone rang again. It was the person she was supposed to meet. I didn’t catch her name, but she was wondering why I was answering Marie Helene’s phone.

I tried to explain the situation … she was lost, we gave her a ride, she forgot her phone, I was driving down to give it back to her … but the person on the phone was pretty rude … why did I have Marie Helene’s phone, where was she, why wasn’t she at the predetermined location … until I told her to just wait until I got there.

The street was packed, no parking anywhere near Cole’s. I waited for the light to change on 6th Street and Los Angeles, considering parking on 6th Street but figuring out why nobody else was parked there, when someone banged on the window. It was Marie Helene, looking relieved. I gave her back her phone, told her that her friend was waiting and calling and worrying. “Thanks”, again, and I drove back home to the quiet of our loft.

Here’s her website:


Written by downtownlalo

February 25, 2010 at 4:22 am

4 Responses

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  1. People–all over the world–ask me for directions, because I look like I might know and won’t bite them. It’s fine, but in Tokyo, I took off my sunglasses, and the direction-seeking Japanese-American guy from Pasadena was somewhat taken aback.


    March 15, 2010 at 4:53 pm

  2. Hey former neighbor-

    I can understand why people gravitate to you for directions, help, etc. As your former neighbor, I can tell you that you are part of a minority that looks strangers in the eye and says “hello” when passing.

    I live around the block from your old digs on Pinecrest Drive, on the Hermon border — but didn’t realize who you were until I saw the post with your photo on

    I was wondering why I didn’t see you in the neighborhood anymore.


    (who you used to see walking in the neighborhood with my wife CM, now-15 month old son Rafael, and dog Chewie)

    Steve Barkan

    March 15, 2010 at 5:02 pm

  3. Believe it or not, that walk along 7th street is pretty safe. Enough stuff over there to keep the demons at bay. Either way, nice of you to help someone out. It’s not exactly a fun walk and I can imagine it’s even less so by a young woman by herself.

    And welcome to downtown!


    March 16, 2010 at 1:23 am

  4. The Varnish is a small bar located behind Cole’s. You have to go through Cole’s to get into it.


    March 16, 2010 at 5:09 pm

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