Out and about on my bike when this homeless looking guy falls in front of me. Like one sec he’s standing, the next he’s flat on the ground. I ask repeatedly if he’s OK and he doesn’t answer… just has a glazed look in his eyes, his groceries all over the floor. I stop and help him up… he reeks of god knows how long since he’s had new clothes. (washed?)
He doesn’t have b.o. but smells like pee… hence the clothes comment. ANYWAY, no one else stops or cares, they just keep on going like this happens all the time. Buggers!
That’s upsetting… more upsetting is, I think this dude is either mental or he’s drunk, I can’t tell… all I know is he’s not “there” to have a conversation with…so I do my best to help him get his stuff together in a huge black plastic bag and he mumbles… He thanks me for helping. His groceries contain pet food…but I see no pets around him… is this what he eats? He has a large sandwich, water, and chips too… is this his meal for the month? the week? the year? I have no idea… he’s pretty thin and aged…
He speaks English but I guess the question “are you OK?” is something he cannot comprehend… so far gone he is, that it’s a dumb/ridiculous question and I feel badly for him. But what can I do? I’m just a girl on a bike and there’s no one around to help… do I call the police? the ambulance? I don’t know… but for the moment he’s OK… he stands there, at the corner, blank look in his eyes… can’t go anywhere.
I tell him maybe he should sit and rest a little before going to where ever he was going… but he gives me a yeah right, look… maybe he’s thinking if I get down, I’ll never get up again… 😦 I know I’ve had those days… I say no more and just do what I can to get him stable.
I look around and he thanks me again so I leave him be, but I can’t forget those eyes… such death in there and such sadness… despair beyond despair and here I’m bitching bc it’s too hot and I’m riding a bike… Those eyes were vacant and empty but at the same time wanting to be ALIVE…and I couldn’t help him… I wouldn’t even know how to start…
And I wonder… How did this happen? Did he start drinking and never knew how to stop? Did he get kicked out? Was he part of the military’s forgotten? How does one get to that point… and yet he keeps going… he’s got more courage than a lot of people I know.
I hope he gets better… I hope there’s help somewhere for him… I hope tonight isn’t so cold… I can’t imagine where he sleeps…
And I feel so ungrateful for bitching. Slap in the face of reality. I have nothing to complain about. Nothing at all.
Like Phil Collins sang, “It’s just another day for you and me, in paradise.”