Diaries from the Ralphs Parking Lot

A panhandler dirtier than a Charlie Sheen drug test walked up to me at a Ralphs parking lot and specifically asked for a dollar. I counter offered with the loose change rattling in my pocket.

Here’s the dialogue:
(Panhandler) Can you give dollar?
(Me) I only have coins my friend.
(Panhandler) Ok

I begin to dig into the bowels of my right pocket. At this point, the panhandler opens the can of Sunkist in his hand, takes a sip and asks, “Are you from here?”

“Yes,” I answer back, as I drop a handful of change into his filthy hand. With a widened grin on his face as if his wife just gave birth to triplets, he says, “Mexico beat you last Saturday,” and then walks off. After taking a few steps, he looks back with a smile once again.

Three days had passed since Mexico beat the United States 4-2 in the CONCACAF World Cup, and here was a man that was still high on the victory, life and possibly other things.

I’ve been called many things in my life, but never confused as Landon Donovan. So I don’t know why this little “Chicharito” felt the need to rub the loss in my face. I understand overcoming a two goal deficit in a border face-off merits random acts of boasting, but in a Ralphs parking when you’re panhandling? That’s a red card in any walk of life.

On Saturday, as I was driving through the mean streets of Van Nuys Blvd., hundreds of Mexican fans stormed the streets, setting off fireworks, whistled, honked their horns, and clanged pots and pans together. Apparently, the CONCACAF tournament victory is a big deal. It featured such global powerhouses as Guadeloupe, Grenada, and Jamaica.

With the Women’s World Cup now in full swing, I can only begin to imagine what lengths of celebration that Mexico tourney victory will stretch out to.

I’ll give out money for that not to happen. Because, no one should ever be harassed while buying paper towels and coffee creamer.