The Little Old Lady (LOL for short; wait a minute…) was barely halfway across the street, when the light turned green, she teetering and tottering and hanging on for dear life, walking stick in one hand, rolling luggage in the other, a look of chemical fear spreading across her face while I looked on from the distant shore of her destination. She reminded me of Hetty from NCIS-LA, aka Linda Hunt, long past her gender-ambiguous days as Billy Kwan in ‘Year of Living Dangerously,’ and now just the LOL that she is, naked and afraid like a deer caught in the headlights. Hetty’s tough, but is it enough? It’s still LA; am I to be her LL Cool J? She’s hanging in there; good thing, too, because the car in the lane she’s just now cleared is hot to trot, got his motor running, heading out on the highway, looking for adventure, etc. The car in the lane she’s still in is holding still at the traffic light. He sees me watching him.
I’m tempted to just step out, grab her under the arms, lift her up, and carry her over to the near shore,, but… that might scare her more than the traffic. I don’t want to startle her… or insult her either, for that matter. So I start inching my way out, as if approaching a dog whose masticatory habits I’m unfamiliar with, then reach out my hand to take the luggage. She hands it to me. I place it on the curb. We’re good. Then I reach out again, to take her hand and steady her while she steps up on to the curb. She’s somebody’s mother, after all, and obviously not homeless. Why is she out here on the streets alone? “Are you okay?” I ask. “Oh, thank you so much!” she exults. “Well, you’re welcome so much. It’s nothing,” I respond. And it wasn’t. What I did for her was negligible. But what she did for me was priceless.