Apparently Drunken Man Walks to My Front Door at Compton...

...wife and kid in the living room, which is just behind the entrance of the house...
...gate left open...

We live in a time where on any given newscast, we are inundated with news items that double as cautionary tales.  News of random robberies,'s a scary, negative world, and it seems so random.  Basically, if you watch the local news, you'll be inclined to never, ever trust anyone.

On top of that, my neighborhood has a history, one that from any Google search of my street, would deem it a mostly BAD history.  Without giving away too much detail, there is actually a Hispanic gang named after my street.

But I don't know what it is about me. 

Maybe Catholic guilt.  Maybe Anthropologist, 'let's-see-where-this-goes' mentality.

I crack open the door, but not our steel screen door so that there remains a barrier between me and this unknown individual.  I can kind of see him, but he can't see me.  He's shortish, mid-50s black man.

I ask him what's going on.

He says that he used to live in the very house that I live in today.  Says his name is 'Bobby.' He says that the neighbors know him. 

I think to myself, "well how come they don't help him out?"

He says that he was just in the neighborhood and got into some kind of fight.

He tells me that I have to help him.

There's a desperation in his voice that I would avoid on Metro trains.  But him being here, in my house, on my family's property, means that I can't just ignore him.

He asks if I could drive him to his place in South Los Angeles.

By this point, I'm blown away.  I'm glad he doesn't solicit money.  I don't really want to turn him away, but I still don't know who the fuck he is or what he's doing here.  However, if all he wants is a ride, I instantly get an idea.

"Hey man, what if I call you an Uber?"

The idea is my way of helping with something without spending money or necessarily directly dealing with him.

He keeps going on about how he just wants to go to his home in South LA and how he is known in this neighborhood. 

He never really answers the question, but tacitly he seems to approve as I explain that it's like a Taxi.  I pull up my phone and order it up from my app.  I order it, but I also want to warn the Uber driver by calling her; the driver never picks up the phone.  11 Minutes.

I tell him it is ordered, and that they're coming in 10 minutes. 

I take a closer look and see that he's bleeding just above the mouth.  I just try to continue conversation about what the neighborhood was like, trying in earnest to verify his claim to the neighborhood. 

He said that he grew up in my house during the 1980s.  He said it was where he grew up.  Kept saying that he knew people around, but conveniently were nowhere to be found on this chance school night.

When I see the Uber is getting close, I finally open the screen door so I could go outside and meet the man.

I tell him that the Uber is there, and he's still talking about going to South LA.  He's talking the whole time.

A middle-agish "alternative" looking white lady in a black sedan pulls up in front of my neighbor's house, and I spot her.  She has another passenger seated in the front seat, also another woman.

I immediately claim responsibility and say I ordered the Uber and ask if its OK.

She nods, and says, "It's fine."

Bobby hops into the backseat and I thank her with the profusion of a million suns.

But now, I just hope I don't see a local news story about an Uber driver something something by her passenger...

A Few Wednesdays Later

A white station wagon is parked right in front of my drive way where I normally would park after a day of work.

It is about 2 in the afternoon. 

I usually get that parking space, and it is sometimes a big deal when someone takes it.

Today, it is taken.

By Bobby.

He is talking to a neighbor that I don't talk to and greets me as soon as he sees me.

Says that he was here to repay me for calling that Uber.

He gives me $20, and says that we should barbecue some time.

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