I Need a Tow
This is a re-post from before I wiped out lumpyscorner.com and started over. It was originally published here 19 April, 2012.
Most who know me often say “you should write a book” or “the stuff that only happens to Lumpy”. While I am not one to disregard the suggestions of friends, the truth is that I would be a fool if I wrote because I was told to do so. If one wishes to succeed at writing, one must have a desire to write, not an instruction.
Depending on my success at endeavors of the pen, it is either good fortune or poor fate for the reader that, not only do I keep a journal but that my life is rich with events destined to “only happen to me”.
This particular adventure occurred on some unseasonably hot day early in March of 2012. I was on one of my frequent walks. The weather being as it was and I, fair skinned and easily burnt by the sun, dressed accordingly, a light windbreaker and canoe (or “boonie”) hat. Also, being a shopping excursion, mounted on my back, a woodland camouflage military issue scout pack. I had departed my loft and was ready to do a 12-mile trek. I had not even traveled a 1/4 mile when I happen on a site one would only expect to see in an impoverished area.
Since my “hood” fits that bill, crossing paths with a broken down pick-up truck, complete with a pick-up truck trailer hitched to the rear bumper, both heaped with scrap well past load capacity is not much of a shock. The truck was a kaleidoscope of rust, bare metal, and mismatched panels. The state of the vehicle was transmitted to the world by a rusty chain wrapped through a cocked front bumper and lying extended and strewed on the concrete before the vehicle. The only manner the condition could have been more clearly stated would have been a “help” sign.
In this impoverished area, were foreclosed houses turn into siding striped derelicts, then arson scenes and then vacant lots, such scenes are not uncommon at all. I walked by with no thought of anything outside of the normal. No, it was not the scene which made this worthy of a journal entry but the conversation…
“Heya can I asks you a question?” the apparent owner of the vehicle blurted as I approached. The man seemed harmless enough but the line he used to start the conversation is used far too often by panhandlers and con men in my hood. In fact, I was surprised it lacked the words “fam”, “bro” or “homie”.
I modified my typical response slightly, due to my surprise from the lack of slang. (Normally, I would simply say “You just did” and keep walking.) “Well, you just did and my quota is 2 per day so you best make the next 1 count”
“Do you think you can help me?”
While I no longer thought him a con, I learned years past never answer a blanket yes. You need and escape clause. “That depends. What do you want help with?”
He bent down, picked up the chains from the ground, extended his hands toward me and said “I need a tow”
I took a step back “You’re serious?”
“I don’t have to go far” he replied.
“I don’t think so” I said.
Exceeding his quota “Do you know someone who can?”
Knowing it was time to leave, better stated flee, I replied “Sorry, Jack LaLane is dead”.