being a hero in my neighborhood

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Some say the real heroes in America are our soldiers. Others claim it's the police and fire departments that display heroism. Personally, I feel that everyday heroes are unacknowledged. And by "everyday heroes", I mean heroes that have a direct impact on a regular person's life. And by "a regular person's life", I mean "my life".

What I'm really saying is, I am a hero.

Heroic Act #1

I decided to walk around my neighborhood for no real reason, aside from concerns about my impending morbid obesity. About twenty feet from my house, I ran into an incredibly intoxicated woman who asked if I would take her to the men's room.

At first, I thought this was a crazy pick-up line. Perhaps I was looking finer than I thought in my gray hoodie and nondescript pants. I was ready to explain that I was flattered, but I only just met her, and I didn't want to take advantage of her. Then I realized she meant The Men's Room, the bar about a hundred yards away.

As I propped her up and walked her down the street, she told me a cab driver had tried to rob her that night, and that her girlfriend had beat her up. Me and the drunk woman bonded. She told me about being displaced by Hurricane Katrina and how spelling was tougher in Louisiana, because of the "eau"s and "eaux"s.

She kept dropping her cell phone and cigarettes, and at one point she sat down and started crying on the sidewalk. Even that wasn't such a big deal. Drunk people sit on the sidewalk in our neighborhood all the time. I got her to the bar safe and sound, and she told me it was a shame that I didn't have a boyfriend, since I deserved one.

That nice moment was only marred slightly by her subsequent request that I "hook her up", presumably with cocaine. She pointed out my runny nose as a clear sign that I "knew where to get stuff" (though I am such a square, I've never even seen real-life cocaine). Maybe Louisiana doesn't have seasonal allergies? I don't know.

Heroic Act #2

Again walking home at a very late hour, I came upon a car stuck on the median at Noe and Market. The driver insisted that he was sober, and I believed him, though it was a weird scene. Old white guy in his fifties, riding with a Latino kid who looked about 20 and spoke no English, looking to find Castro Street when they drove into the concrete median.

I was walking through the crosswalk anyway, so I suggested they put on their hazard lights. It's a dangerous enough intersection as is: three streets converging, six possible turns, plus streetcar tracks. I've still never seen anyone hit the median, but given recent events, I'm grateful that the car didn't explode.

Anyway, my simple suggestion turned into an offer to help push the car. I tried pushing, and then lifting, with the kid, but we made no progress. That's when Castro MacGyver arrived. He pulled behind the stuck car (putting on his hazards) and immediately took control of the situation. He barked orders, and quickly came up with a series of plans. Turn the wheel. Push it like this. He produced an iron chain and hooked it to the trapped vehicle. Finally, he got out a hydraulic jack and physically lifted the car off the barrier. When the driver tentatively suggested calling the police or AAA, Castro MacGyver looked at him like he was a disgrace to masculinity itself.

I have no mechanical aptitude whatsoever, but that is actually a bonus for situations like this. I know so little that I don't argue or suggest alternative strategies. I just lower my head and devote my energies to pushing and lift heavy things. This is also why I am such an asset for moving furniture with Gene.

The car jack plan worked. Me and the chico shoved the Honda off the barrier while the driver thanked us profusely. Driver and compaƱero exited, presumably to make love and/or crash into other traffic barriers.

Along with my mild deltoid strain, I had a question. How was it that Castro MacGyver knew so much about how to free the car, and was traveling with so much equipment to make it happen?

"I'm from Detroit," he explained, and drove away as easily as he'd arrived. Which was pretty easily, since he hadn't jammed his car onto the median like a jackass.

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Michigan's good for something!

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on May 1, 2006 2:57 PM.

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