Yesterday was The Rapture and, as I’m still here, I suspect that gives the remaining heathens reading this a good idea of the type of person I must be. Although, given that you’re reading it, too, I guess you’re my kind of people.
At any rate, there is no time like the present to improve your rep, and in my case this meant picking up random strangers. I was on my way home from Hollywood after taking pictures at a rock show at the El Rey and needed something to eat as I’d skipped dinner. I went a little of my way in search of late-night pastrami and while detouring I came upon a girl walking down nearly the middle of the street. She was young, dressed in one of the three typical LA party girl looks: really tight pants, off the shoulder shirt, heels. She was younger than I, but I don’t know by how much…I’m horrible at that game. Most importantly, she was clearly not where she was supposed to be.
I slowed down the car, simultaneously rolling down the window, and muttered some kind of question about whether or not she was going to make it. She looked me in the eyes and let out a wispy “hi”. At which point, all of the pre-conceived notions that you’ve probably also been slowly gathering about this situation crowded into my head and I shouted something about having a good night and kept driving.
Picking up pretty, young, drunk and/or high girls in the middle of the night? Lecherous! Sleazy! And probably dangerous as well. Let people’s business be their own.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about her as I waited for my food. Or, more correctly, I couldn’t stop thinking about her situation. This was a pretty girl who was obviously completely out of it who was walking down the middle of the street. If she wasn’t going to get hit by a car (which she’d already narrowly avoided when I almost hit her) then there were plenty of other less-reputable than me people out there. Other drunk party-goers spilling out of clubs and bars. Other groups of guys on the prowl for a girl just like this. Other just not great people who wouldn’t care how it would look to pick up a random in the middle of the night.
Driving home by reversing my route, I saw her again. Further down the street, but no less in the middle of it. I pulled over and watched her for a few seconds from afar, trying to ascertain if she had a destination in mind or sense of purpose. I thought not. I swung a u-turn and pulled into the center divide (which was effectively the same as pulling up beside her).
“You need a ride.” (said as a statement and not a question)
And she was immediately on my window ledge, trying to look unaffected by the fact that she was talking to some random guy in the middle of the road. Introductions, a cautionary handshake that seemed to make her feel a lot better about the situation, and she was in the passenger seat asking me how my night was. Actually, she asked me the exact same question 5 or 6 times without any recollection of my previous answer, so she was definitely rolling.
The usual story: got in a fight with my boyfriend and just needed to walk, how was your night? I really appreciate you. Seriously, I appreciate us right now. Can I shake your hand? How was your night? I live 3 blocks from the beach. I live like a half a block from the beach. I really appreciate you right now. Thank you for taking me as close to my home as is possible. How was your night?
Eventually, I found her place. One which she shared with her boyfriend that left her at a party, high, no keys, no phone, no ID, no nothing. I briefly entertained the idea of not leaving her there, but she seemed like a pretty tough chick who I didn’t have much doubt could handle any man.
She climbed out of the car after insisting on giving me a long hug. “Thank you Thank you Thank you.”
“No worries, have a good night. Tell your boyfriend he’s a lucky man.”
(sour look) “He’s not.”
All told, she had been at least three miles from her door and heading in the wrong direction. I don’t like the possibilities of what her night might have been like if I hadn’t picked her up. Good luck, Sandy.