I’m walking up from the waterfront late Sunday evening. I pass a man, he’s moving at a shuffling pace, blinking at everything with wide eyes, smiling openly.

He stops me, “Excuse me. Are you from here?”


“Are those all homes?” He points up at two 15-floor box-shaped towers, the Harbor Steps buildings.

“Yes. They’re all apartments.”

He nods his head, letting it sink in. “This is the first time I’ve been here.”

We both cross the street and head up the steps.

“Where are you from?”

“Albuquerque, New Mexico,” he answers.

“What brings you here?”

“I’m a truck driver,” he tells me. He is turning his head in every direction, soaking in data overload. “Is there a mall around here? Can you give me directions?”

I point him to Westlake Center.

“I was hoping to go out tonight, but I’m worried about getting lost. I’ll squeeze in what I can though.” He stops on the sidewalk, waiting for the light.

For a moment I entertain the idea of inviting him somewhere for a drink, but figure he’ll find his way better without me. I turn up the street and wave, “Enjoy yourself.”

The light turns green. He steps carefully into the crosswalk, seeing things I can’t.

Categorized as Before