This morning the children and I took the car to get a smog check. I’ve never done that before–if you buy your car in California, it gets six years’ probation until you have to start testing emissions; our last car was five and a half years old when it was stolen.
I found a place with great reviews on Yelp, found a coupon, and set off with a ball of anxiety in my stomach. Partly I was anxious about doing something new. Partly about the trip to the DMV that would come after–perhaps you remember how our last trip went? And partly because we were really overdue for this and I have been kind of living in fear of getting pulled over.
Once we got there, the mechanic was nice to me and I found a bench at the side of the building to sit on with Sam and Grace. They had their handheld video games, and when Grace got bored of her game we looked for birds (there is no shortage of pigeons in Hollywood).
A homeless man in a wheelchair came across the parking lot toward us and stopped right up next to the bench. I tried to push away the feeling of discomfort. Then he took out a crumpled pack of Winstons, and just as I was about to ask him to go smoke away from my children (and, er, the gas pumps) the mechanic appeared out of nowhere and asked him to move to the other side of the lot. The man stood up from his wheelchair, and, well. His pants fell down.
HIS PANTS FELL DOWN. I SAW HIS PENIS.
I don’t think the children noticed, but oh man was the mechanic embarrassed. He apologized profusely, and later the manager came out and also apologized, which is so silly–they had no control over it! Once the man had his pants situation under control, he sat back down and wheeled across the parking area–only to almost get run over by a car backing up.