Life has a way of shocking me to my core every now and then.
When it happens 9 times out of 10, your jaw drops and your butt clenches.
And then there are those rare, rare occasions that the shock is so HUGE, that you honestly
have to make a concerted effort to keep from shitting yourself.
This morning is one of those times.
I had just left Starbucks and was making my way down the block to my office.
I read my Kindle as I go, its my habit.
Manhattan Beach is slow to wake up in the mornings. Every store seems to open at a different time, so there is not a set time that everyone opens.
The only exception to that is the coffee, bagel and juice places. They target the early morning, before work crowd, so they are rolling before sun up.
My circuitous trek to the office is kind of a go down, go over, go down, go over, go down zig zag that I do out of reflex, only looking up at the corners to make sure I don’t get hit by a truck.
I turn the final corner and stop dead in my tracks.
Garrett the homeless guy is sitting on the corner in his usual spot.
Quick recap. Garrett the homeless guy was a friend of sorts that used to sit on the corner just up from my office and argue with himself all day.
Until he died, that is.
I came to work one morning and saw the paramedics taking him away.
The owner of the bar right there said it was an overdose.
Later that same day, the bar owner said that one of the paramedics told him that the homeless guy died on the way to the hospital.
Garrett was my friend.
He and I severely pissed off the regulars at a local bagel chain by sitting out front, eating bagels in the seats they usually occupied. Just me and a 6 foot 5 massive filthy homeless guy.
I was really bummed when he died.
“Where the hell have you been?” I sound like a jilted love interest.
In a way, I am. Comes from the same emotional core. “Last I saw, they were feeding you into an ambulance. I heard you died!” I am officially in a snit.
“Really?” He almost looks like he is trying to remember if he died or not. Finally, he shakes his head.
“I went to stay with my brother. I don’t like Iowa, so I came back.”
Evidently being housed in Iowa is still not as good as homeless in Manhattan Beach.
I couldn’t agree more.
I wanted to cry. I don’t know this guy THAT well, but I want to cry right now.
I would hug him, but A) We aren’t THAT close, and B) He really is filthy and has that funky homeless odor.
Finally, it occurs to me that I am staring, so I say the first thing I can think of that would be ok for Garrett to do.
“Are you hungry?”
He smiles and stands up. God, he is tall.
“I’m always hungry.”
Bagel house patrons, prepare to have your morning all fucked up.
Its gonna be a good day.