Tuesday, August 29, 2006

how is she? 

Thirteen months ago I took the bus from the Burbank Media Center, headed to my home in North Hollywood in mid-evening. I took a different bus than usual, because my usual bus had stopped running twenty minutes earlier. No big deal. While the bus I was on might have taken a little longer, I knew it would connect me with a bus that ran late and would stop within a few blocks of my apartment.

The corner the bus let me out on was deep in the heart of Sunland - industrial, no stores, not even a 7-11 or gas station. Across the street was a tiny used car lot, part of it lit up from a small party, Latino music drifting across Lankershim. I crossed two streets to my next bus stop, where a pretty young black woman was waiting. I sat down and continued reading my book, expecting to wait about ten minutes for my bus.

Those ten minutes dragged by. Then another ten, fifteen minutes joined the first ten. I tried to read my book, but I became too agitated to lose myself in it, so I closed it and looked down the road.

The night was growing cooler. I was okay, but the young lady sitting on the bench drew her slender bare arms closer to her. We struck up a conversation and she revealed that she had been waiting for nearly an hour before I had shown up. She mentioned her destination, which was only about a mile or so from my home. We waited for another ten or fifteen minutes, talking, and finally I suggested that we call a taxi, as we were only about six or seven miles from where we wanted to go and I had them in pre-programmed in my cell phone. She agreed and offered to pay for half, which I gratefully accepted, for while I had enough money on me to cover the fare, I wasn't flush with money.

We called a taxi. While we waited, for both the bus and the taxi, several men drove by, whistling at the young lady or asking if she needed a ride, sometimes asking me as well. We both declined. Finally, after about twenty minutes, the taxi showed up - I had to call again to make sure it was on its way. We climbed in and continued our conversation.

During this time I discovered that my new friend was eighteen years old and had recently graduated from a New Orleans high school. She and her mother were visiting family and friends in Los Angeles. She aspired to be a social worker back home - had always wanted to be a social worker - and had applied to and been accepted by Tulane University. She loved visiting LA, but was looking forward to getting back to her hometown a few days later. I told her that I admired her, knowing how difficult social work was. I'm always amazed and humbled when I meet someone who is so devoted to helping others on such a one-to-one basis, especially in one so young.

Ten minutes or so later the taxi dropped me off at my corner, I gave a little over half the fare to my cab companion and wished her good luck with Tulane and with her future. And off the taxi drove.

A little over a month later Katrina hit New Orleans. The badly constructed levees failed and a city endured horrible devastation. Initially my thoughts were for the general population of New Orleans, for the feelings of Ray. The unconscionable lack of response of the federal government took up a lot of my focus and was featured prominently in the political blog that I had co-founded only a week before.

A few weeks later I remembered the girl I had shared a cab ride with. We had exchanged names, but not contact information, and I remembered her name then, though it eludes me now. I wondered how she was, if she and her mother had made it through the hurricane and its aftermath relatively unscathed, or at all.

I still wonder how they are. I still pray that they're okay. That young woman is exactly the type of young people our country needs to survive.

I hope she survived.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours? www.blogwise.com Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com Listed on BlogShares Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us

Listed on LABlogs.com

Carol/Female/36-40. Lives in United States/California/Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley, speaks English. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection.
This is my blogchalk:
United States, California, Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, English, Carol, Female, 36-40.

WWW all the fun of the fair...