A significant ‘hug’.

She said “34 C” or some such freeway exit into her home in this large U.S. city. (Not the one pictured.)

Well, I stupidly take “34- B” by accident and figure “oh well, I’ll just drive another mile or two through this neighbourhood..”

This “neighbourhood” is one of the most notorious in North America. This is about as bad as it gets.

Immediately, I notice the ‘boys in the hood’ pointing at ‘old, lost, tourist’, coming onto the street, on their phones. It’s a network! Maybe ‘paranoic’, but my street senses kick in and I quickly found myself playing a game of cat and mouse, dodging down back alleyways, and making the most un-expected turns, each time, running into groups (on phones) blocking my progress. (At one point, a large tire rolled out to block me.) This is serious.

Somehow I managed to find a ‘busy’ road and put myself amoung the traffic, and eventually get to her place.

She lived on the edge of this ‘neighbourhood’.

We had never actually met before (and this was a model shoot), but she specifically said “when you get here, text or call me and I’ll come out to meet you”. I arrived at her complex (ground units, gate with buzzer). I texted her and she came out and as I reached out to shake her hand, she hugged me (as if ‘ol friend’).  We walked and I said “buzzer not working?” She laughed and said “No, that hug was a message to the ‘hood’. They now know that you’re cool, not a cop, and a friend of mine.” I said “what about my car?” She said “They’ll watch out for that as well, trust me.”

She – 50’s, white, classy, single Mother had ingratiated herself into the hood over the years, and this was her daily existence.

Me .. a bit lost in translation. (The shoot was excellent.)