Downtown Lalo

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Lost on Hope Street

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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: http://www.cybersteel.blogspot.com

Written by downtownlalo

February 25, 2010 at 4:22 am

Central Library in downtown L.A.

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My wife works at the library. She has been there for quite a long time. I used to work at the library, too. We both started in the Wilmington branch, first me, then her. After I left in 1984 from central library (before the fire), she took the civil service exam and has been working at the library since, moving up. The city of L.A. is undergoing a budget crisis and like all other departments, the library will be losing people (through early retirement and layoffs). It is not a pleasant environment right now and not just because of that. It has always a been a challenging place to work — transients, drug use, surly patrons, other employees, uncertainty — and it’s getting worse and more stressful.

I try to walk her to work and back every day. It’s the least I can do.

A place with books, magazines, computer and people

Written by downtownlalo

February 20, 2010 at 11:57 pm