It’s the McDonald’s Next to the Arco

“Hi, this is your driver. You put the pin on the map in the middle of the freeway. Where exactly are you?”

“Oh, it’s for my cousin. Let me call him….He says he’s at the Arco.”

“What Arco? I have no idea where he is. There are 100 Arcos in this neighborhood.”

“Hold on…he says he is in the Arco next to the McDonald’s.”

“Still doesn’t help. I could drive for 10 years and still not find an Arco next to a McDonald’s.”

“Why, you don’t know your own city?”

“I assume your are kidding. Get I just get an address or cross streets?”

“No, he doesn’t know.”

“OK, I’m sorry, I have to cancel.”

“OK.”

 

Beat Up and Broken

Riding through LA at night, I stopped at the red light. Out of the shadows, four men came up to my passenger door. All the doors and windows were closed.

One guy looked at my phone in the holder on my dash. Later I surmised they thought I was an Uber driver or something.

“Hey, man, can you give us a ride?”

Even if they thought I was an Uber car, did they think Uber hands out free rides?

“All the doors are broken,” I shrugged as I spoke loud enough to be heard through the shut windows.

He turned to his friends hanging back a half step. “He says the doors are all broken.”

The doors are indeed broken. You can’t open them, or you have to know exactly where to talk to them, like a stubborn mule, to get them to open. It is a true “beater with a heater.”

The biggest guy stepped forward, “Come on, man, give us a RIDE!” more demanding than asking.

Sure, no problem. I always let strangers in high crime areas get in my car late at night. Sounds like the beginning of a very special “Law and Order” episode. At one point one detective says to another, “But why would he let strangers in a high crime area in his car? It just DOESN’T ADD UP.”

“The doors are broken!” I repeated.

“Oh, man! The doors aren’t broken!”

As he says this, he reached out and tried to open the passenger door.

It didn’t open.

It’s broken.

All the doors are broken. Like my heart after every relationship for the last 37 years.

The rear hatch door doesn’t open at all. It’s frozen in place. The same way my face was when Beth broke off our engagement in 1987.

“Yes, they ARE ALL BROKEN!” I repeated for the third time.

“Man, you got ‘em all LOCKED! You just don’t want to give us a RIDE!”

Well, they aren’t locked.

They are broken.