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Saint Bitter, patron saint of the homeless.

There is a certain crazed symmetry to watching a meth head beg for money.

I know what you are thinking – “There he goes again, making fun of people less fortunate.”

You’re wrong.

I am making fun, but these people are in a living hell.

But, even the making fun is reserved as I watch how absolutely exhausting it must be inside of the head of Pauline.

Pauline is mid 30’s, looks 60.

There are only a few teeth left, the rest have fallen out.

Her eyes are tired, yet dart back and forth in a manic frenzy.

I am parked at the corner, on my bike, waiting for the light to change.

I have been bicycle commuting as much as I can lately, trying to change my shape from round to more of a V.

Jury is still out on how that is still working.

I have my cycling shades on, so no one can see my eyes.

Which destroys Pauline’s whole game, she relies on eye contact as the go ahead to start her pitch.

The light turns green and Pauline has had no success in her fundraising activities.

Everyone starts to cross the street.

Except me.

Its not often I break outside of the rotten little shell of shittyness that I wear like a new coat and feel something different.

Pity.

Pauline is a broken toy.

Like well and truly broken beyond repair.

She is watching me, so I take off my glasses and look at her.

The story, when she launches into it, makes severe ADD look focussed.

Her purse was stolen, or she lost it, or she needs cigarettes, or money, or a ride.

I hold up my hand, shushing her.

“What do you want from me?”

Tears well up in her eyes.

“I want to talk to someone.”

First complete sentence from her so far.

Tears well up in my eyes.

I tell her my name and ask hers.

She begins to slow down.

It occurs to me I might be the first person that is not telling her no or avoiding her in weeks.

Its a sobering thought.

I would throw out a “There but for the grace of God…” line, but it would wring false.

I figured out a long time ago that addictions never stick with me.

Luck of the draw.

 

I tell Pauline why I am riding and about the 100 mile race I want to do.

She stars a little blankly at me as if the idea of riding for any reason other than to get some place makes no sense.
And maybe it doesn’t.

And I do something I rarely do.

Part with cash.

Same deal as before.

Reach into the wallet, pull out a bill at random.

No matter what it is, I have to give it.

Its a dumb game that is designed to make me feel better on a base emotional level.

Last time I did it, it was just a five.

This time, luck is on Pauline’s side.

She folds the twenty and puts it in her pocket, like a squirrel hiding a nut that someone might steal without warning.

The light turns green for about the fifth time, this time, I decide to go.

“Bye!” Pauline stands on the corner and waves as I ride off.

Not many days I do this, I don’t think I could survive the emotional rip tide of it all.

But I feel better, in a shallow, superficial way.

And I am ok with that.

I’m a fucking saint.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Getting to the cruel part.

There are two different types of bad behavior in this world.

There is the rare one, at least admitting it is rare, it actually happens quite a bit. Its the type of bad behavior that you do and then secretly relish the shitty thing you have done.

I am well acquainted with that one.

Hell, because of the filter eliminating effects of this damn blog, I often brag about it.

But today, we are here to talk about that other type of bad behavior.

Its that type of bad behavior that you do it and don’t secretly relish in it.

In fact, you don’t get it. Even when someone points it out to you, you don’t get it.

Like a shitty form of karmic water off of a cosmic ducks back, just to make it sound all new agey.

Here is an example: (Come on, you saw this coming, right?)

I was recently visiting on an excursion to a weird alternative museum.

The Museum of Jurassic Technology.

Its kind of like a freak show on Xanax.

Its the stuff that legitimate museums and freak shows took one look at and said, “It’s not for us, thanks.”

One display is two mummified mice on toast. (Draw your own conclusions.)

Another is a collection of clear glass globes that have floating figurines in them, all in different stages of drowning, complete with mood lighting and odd bubbly sounds effects.

The last example is a steel ferris wheel suspended from the ceiling. Its made of steel and every moving surface on it has a bell attached. Ever few minutes it begins spinning and the room has no sound proofing.

So any conversations you have go on a time out until the ferris wheel is done.

But the museum is not why we are here.

It what happened when we left the museum.

And then we met Earl.

Not sure if that is his name, but that is what I am calling him and who the fuck are you to argue? Sit down, shut up, and let me finish, jeez!

Earl is homeless.

And he is a homeless ninja.

We had not taken 10 steps from the shady museum’s front door when Earl struck.

His walker is on wheels, and they roll silent as a whisper.

“Hey there! How you boys doin’?”

He is not blocking our path, there is plenty of room to go around, but you have to.

We mumble some platitudes and begin our evasive maneuvers.

Earl is having none of that shit.

Side-spinning a walker does not take up more space at all, but it is a psychological block.

We stop.

“I don’t want money.”

As an opener, this is sloppy, but good. It doesn’t work, I mean, I KNOW he wants money, but what is his pitch? I was in sales long enough to know that everything is a transaction. Money, sense of accomplishment, pride…etc. Money is just the most obvious.

“Could you buy me a meal at the In’n’Out?”

There is a burger place just up the street.

“Sorry, I don’t carry cash.”

You might think this is the cruel part, BUT YOU WOULD BE WRONG.

So off we walked.

“Why didn’t you give him food?” My oh so innocent companion asked.

The reasons are long and drawn out, but based on advice from a professional in the “Dealing with the homeless in the most compassionate way” industry. The incomplete simple answer is, anything I give him enables and perpetuates his addiction and makes me an active party in killing him.

But that is still not the cruel part.

“Because,” I said as we headed in to the same burger place to get lunch.

“I don’t want to see him try to smoke a burger.”

And THATS THE CRUEL PART. (And its a hell of a long walk for a punch line, but it is what it is. Write your own blog.)

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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