By Hipolito Munoz, Managing Editor/Publisher

So there I was, in the parking lot of a 7/11 ten minutes from my house with a dead battery. Students from the local private university and other locals did not even hazard a look, they knew what I was thinking, and that I was about to ask them for a jump start for the very dead battery.

I was about to call a service but decided to look at my “contacts” and see who I may be able to convince to come and help, and I saw that I had committed the number one error we seem to always commit as we get older, I isolated myself from my neighbors and I really don’t have family around me. My brother lives in Spain and my cousin moved to Palmdale, about 200 miles away from Los Angeles about 2 years before. My two friends that I could possibly contact were visiting family out of state, so how would I handle this?

I decided to teach myself a lesson, I waited until I felt comfortable enough to ask someone, after 4 asks with negative results discomfort overpowered me and I sat in my car until I saw a man that strangely enough reminded me of my dad. I approached him and asked him for help, in Spanish, and he acquiesced. The battery took around 5 minutes to get charged, so it took around 20 minutes of his time, which he gladly gave me. I commented how difficult it had been to get some help, his response was very classic and similar to what my father has been preaching his whole life; “well, people don’t trust people because they don’t know them. Los Angeles is really weird, so it is best to keep your family close by, especially when you are poor.” He laughed, I gave him some cash as a thank you, he took it with a surprised nod and left.

As soon as I got home, I did place a couple of security measures into play. The most important one to avoid this situation again was to call AAA and renew my membership, which had the strange effect of helping me feel at ease and more secure. While doing that I was acutely aware that we use money to replace people and create buffers in our community. The most important luxuries are space and options, which we have been convinced that we can buy.