The day before I arrived in Texas the weather was ninety degrees. During the five days I traversed Texas, rain clouds and deluge shrouded the sun. The first time the sun shone was in the car returning to the Austin airport.
Fast-forward eight hours to me installed on San Diego's airport floor endeavoring my eyes to remain open, drowsy head nodding like an oversized Bobble-head accompanied by incoherent mumbling strikingly similar to a drunken three-year-old. Four hours of a lengthened layover later, I, bag-oppressed, scampered to board the last BART train of the night. On BART I discerned my frequently meager cash fund comprised sixty-two cents. Characteristic of my generation: multiple credit/debit cards. No cash. As I consider begging for money an exploit reserved for bums and hobos, I was short the $1 necessary for the twenty-block commute back by bus.
In black spandex, sandals, a strapless orange summer dress, black jacket, backpack, purse, and luggage, my Jewish propensities decreed my scant unemployment income adverse to a cab ride. As it was now 1:30am, and my friends accomplish things with their lives in the forms of college classes and/or jobs, I surmised walking from downtown SF through the Tenderloin (a neighborhood tenderly known for it's homelessness, poverty, and crime) to my friend's apartment a logical decision. In preparation for the expedition, I diversified the weight around my body. I.e. slung my arms through the two side straps and hugged my oversized bag to my chest. A block and a half in to the excursion, my laptop-containing backpack on my back, purse at my side, hands in pockets, my traction-less sandals launched me from the polished rain-slicked sidewalk onto my back. I transformed from Confident Superwalker Woman to Helpless Ladybug. My bag pinned me to the concrete sidewalk and my appendages flailed until my arms managed to dislodge from bag and I regained a two-legged stance quasi-customary to humans. I chuckled and continued my trek. Now only eighteen and a half blocks away.
The few humans I encountered appraised me via raised eyebrows. I assume a young white girl drowning in black bags, sandaled feet sliding every few steps, promenading through the Loin at 1:50am was like seeing the Dali Lama slamming down Irish Car Bombs at a bar called the Dirty Dog.
It was not raining, yet Umbrella Man passed me. His dark skin, dark clothing, + me skeptical that I was walking through the Loin with every thieves orgasm (laptop, camera, cell phone, etc.) equated hesitation in passing his shuffling self. As he shambled by, he raised his umbrella-wielding arm. I stared at him believing it was entirely possible the thing was a magic wand that would strip me of everything I was carrying, clothes included. I lunged back as Magic Wand moved towards me. It lightly patted me on the head, Umbrella Man withdrew potential weapon, and ambled on his way. Umbrella Man metamorphosed into God. God had just blessed me with his stick.
Many MUNI's passed along with the thought that if I had only had a dollar, I would be back by now.
Two blocks away from my destination, I discovered a dollar bill fastidiously folded lying in the crosswalk. Waiting for me. This dollar was my savior. The savior that materialized to save me moments after I had potentially been mangled by a fire-breathing ladybug.