Venice has wide storm drains on every corner. It’s quite easy to accidentally drop things into their depths. Fortunately, if you drop something in the Venice storm drain, whether it’s skateboard or cell phone, bong or crack pipe, surfboard or dog . . . there is help out there.
A few months ago, my friend Frenchie came over. I pull up around dusk via Schwinn bicycle to witness the typical sort of arrival that my best friend is known for. Her car is parked slightly askew on the street. Doors open. Hazard lights flashing. She’s standing on the sidewalk in high-heeled boots, cell phone in hand, two LAPD officers blocking the intersection and “non-chalantly” – ahem! – salivating near her as though she is a Bavarian cream filled éclair that’s been dunked once in coffee.
I really thought something was wrong at first . . .
The big emergency? Her cell phone fell into the storm drain. She had flagged down an LAPD squad car and taken command of an officer’s cell phone. Give Archimedes a lever and a good vantage point and the Greek mathematician claimed he could move the globe. Give my friend Frenchie a cell phone and good reception and in her own way, she too can move the globe. I thought she’d never see her phone again. I was wrong.
After about twenty minutes, a huge truck about as long as the city block and reminiscent of a Star Wars Sandcrawler lumbers toward us. Two little guys in orange jumpsuits hop out. One of them pops the heavy manhole cover off with a little bitty tool that is not unlike a garden hoe. The other disappears into the storm drain and retrieves her phone. She takes it with a smile, notices the red message light blinking and says to the man with her syrupy Southern accent, “Thank you, sugar, for rescuing my messages!”
So, the next time your car stereo face plummets into the concrete depths or if some how your saxophone skids into the abyss of the street corners of Venice, don’t fret. Know that free help is available and dispatched quickly to the scene. There’s no need to panic or call your cell phone that’s sitting down there on the dark ledge, just out of arm’s reach. Call the men in the orange jumpsuits. They are professionals. They’ve got a giant truck. They know what to do.