“When I go, you go.”

A silly spat, of unknown origin, with the grumpy old man pushed me into an evening walk with the girls. Suffice it to say, he was at fault and I, of course, was entirely blameless, innocent of any wrong doing, in my own wine-besotted mind for sure.

The post office is a short walk from home, and as luck would have it, I had a bill to post providing me with an excuse to stroll through my neighborhood. An unincorporated community with few sidewalks, it is incumbent on a pedestrian to look sharp and beware of distracted drivers, especially when crossing Highway 38. “Highway” is a bit of a vainglorious name for the two-lane, main drag of Mentone, with a posted speed limit of 40 mph. That said, few drivers pay any attention to the posted speed limit, so it can be a bit of a trick to get across as there are no signals or stop signs. Thankfully, most people see the dogs and brake accordingly, dogs being far more dear to their hearts than drunk, old women, staggering off the curb.

Having posted my mail, I was standing at the intersection waiting for a break in the line of traffic zooming uphill to their gentrified neighborhoods, drivers eager for their supper and social media, when a small, age-worn car pulled up to the stop sign next to me. The driver, seeing me looking up and then down the road, gauging the speed of the cars in relation to the gaps between them, called out to me in the chopped vowels of his native Spanish, “When I go, you go!”

Photo by Thomas Chan on Unsplash

Signaling my understanding that he intended to run interference for me, I stepped confidently into the road at the next gap in traffic and he cruised beside me as I trotted, or tottered, briskly across the street.

Do I need to describe the feeling of community this simple act of empathy inspired? This immigrant man, whose life was probably a daily struggle, recognized his own abuela (grandma) in me, a white woman whom he did not know at all, and compelled him to instinctively protect.

I understand that folks who live in vanilla bubbles may fear the people who are immigrating to this country, but I’m here to say, fear not! They are humans, like us, who have much to contribute.

26 thoughts on ““When I go, you go.”

    1. Ihad lunch out today — it seemed as if all the servers, etc. were particularly nice! My friend commented on this also, and decided that it was “be nice to senior citizens day!”

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A little thing, but so touching, JRR. I was at ACE Hardware buying mulch a few days ago, just two bags but I’d hurt my shoulder and was under a lifting restriction, so I had to ask for help to get them into my car. There was only one clerk, and she wanted to help but couldn’t leave the store. I told her I’d manage. Suddenly another customer in line stepped up, said if I pulled up to the mulch and waited for her, she’d put it in my car. It meant a lot.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly! Didn’t matter that it was a woman. And this gal slung those bags around like they were feather pillows. My mom says my little sister is the same way, helped her get fifty bags of mulch onto her flowerbeds in a single afternoon. The sister’s name is Judy, by the way.


  2. The “immigrant” issue is full of statistics. The humanity issue is down to individuals. It’s good to see the light get some press. Now had he been the illegal escaped cartel gangsta on the run from killing a grandfather and his four grandsons… Well then… See that bloody spot in the road there? We call it Judy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m going to say that this issue is more white/non-white than anyone probably wants to acknowledge.
    In my lil hometown bubble of Portland, this type of consideration used to be the norm. So much so that whenever I moved back from living elsewhere in America, it was a behavior that reinvigorated my passion for people. That’s important for a career retailer. However, I was also aware of the diminishing examples of this behavior upon each return. It was the influx of more and more people from the elsewheres that I’d been away to. A full 600k moved from CA to OR in the last decade. A good 15% of the current state population, and depending on how you measure it, the population of Portland itself. What stands out to me here is the non-whites, because in this town there are just so damn few of them! But I notice that *they* are the ones who most often display these OG Portland behaviors, not the whites with their too tight personal bubbles that apparently prevent them from considering others outside that skin tight bubble.
    But I applaud the heck out of you for observing the phenomenon when it happened. That’s an Attitude of Gratitude, right there, friend! Pay it forward as much as possible!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “All politics is local.” A phrase equally useful when racism is substituted for politics. I’ve been a gringo, a haole, a paleface, an “American,” white, a breeder, “Tex,” “Okie”… Hell, I’ve been dissed for being a Sagittarius. And for living in Austin a long time ago. God only knows what the Yankees called me. That’s before we move away from “race” into sociological territory.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I suspect that you’re right; it’s cultural differences that divide us more than race, and I think religion comes under the same heading. I’d be scraping the bottom of the barrel if I used signs of the Zodiac as an excuse to discriminate.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oops… the Indian guy was in the pick up gig call list. He’d show up and ask everybody their birthday and go on a rant how he wasn’t “playing with no goddam Sagittarius”. I’d been warned and used a phony birthday. But still…


          1. I’ve used a phony birthday to avoid discrimination by a bartender but never to avoid discrimination by an Indian…there aren’t many Indian bartenders in these parts. Now you have me thinking of ethnicity linked to jobs, but I’d better not get politically incorrect in this venue.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. The other day a woman ahead of me in line at the grocery store was having trouble with her credit card. She tried it repeatedly without success. Since she looked to be of humble means, I stepped up and inserted my card to spare her more embarrassment…and to expedite my own egress. When I mentioned the incident to my husband, he said she was probably trying to use a stolen credit card. He always knows how to keep my altruism in check.


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