Today: walked down the street and there was a guy there I think was a homeless guy wasn’t sure, all white beard and full of manic energy. He didn’t ask me for money or anything, or something, or whatever, but he just started talking to me and I just started listening. He told me of his divorce and his run this far away from his exwife in search of some promise of some job somewhere. And the jobs fall through and I just listened, you know? I listened as he told his story and I absorbed it, all the sadness underneath everything else. I just walked with him for a bit and he opened up to me, spilling everything out.
I remember- there was a bus going by and the sound of it stopping and starting at each stop, and the thick buzz of the traffic lights as they clunked and changed form red to yellow to green. And I just listened to him even as birds took flight over head, large swarming cawing crows fighting for something I couldn’t see. He kept telling me about bankruptcy and searching for jobs and then stop searching and all that. And how drinking had almost killed him a few times, but in the end he was smiling.
And then we parted ways and he told me thank you and I was like what for, though I didn’t say that. I mean because I saw him? Because I didn’t just shrug him off? Because I actually fucking listened to him?
I can’t pretend misery is invisible to me or any form of misery at all, and I can’t just let things slide away and go away like so many other people. I guess I’ve got to listen because I can’t stop seeing everyone. I’m always handing out money or cigarettes or anything.
There was this guy- Rusty or Russell I think his name was or something like that who was going around mowing lawns. And even though my home is basically being swiped out from underneath me for lack of payments I kept giving him money to mow the lawn. Sometimes he’d come and ask for more money to float him by and he said he’d come by and do more work and I said don’t worry about it. And other times he’d take my money and not come back but what the fuck, who was I to care? If he needed 35$ so badly that he would ask random strangers for it then I don’t care he needed it more than I did.
One time he came back and offered to paint my house or my porch or something and I didn’t have the money to give him and I felt like shit about it. I wish I had that money then to give it to him when he came by- I didn’t care if he actually painted one damn thing. He was hard up, I could tell, I’ve been there, we’ve all been there. If you haven’t been there then you’re a privileged ass that probably screams about entitlements and handouts before begging to VC’s for more money yourself or cashing your retirement checks from social security checks or whatever. After that day I never saw him again, and I felt bad about that and was sure he was embarrassed and maybe he thought I turned into another asshole refusing money and lying or whatever.
Let me tell you now about the time I was homeless, and living out of my car, and then for a week or two living in shitty hotels that charged by the hour as much as by the day. There was nothing out there for me then, and sometimes I look back at that and remember the random arguments at three am and the firstfights in the parking lot or the way the hotel smelled like piss and fungus no matter how many times the old asian guy who ran the place (and kept saluting me and calling me captain) tried to air the fucker out.
I was on the run from something then, maybe it was myself, maybe it was my history, maybe it was who I was, or maybe I was running from everything all past and all futures. I was thinking stupid thoughts then like running into lamposts as I drove down the street at night for no reason other than just to do it to do it already to make it fucking stop. When I was in the car on nights and had to sleep in it I had to find safe spots which by no means was easy at all in Baltimore.
But still I had to drive to my job and I had to work and I had to look online each day to find some place to live that would take a guy with credit rating so bad so bad so bad. Finally found a place after awhile, but it took long enough, and I was glad it was spring and almost summer so the nights at least weren’t fucking cold and frost biting. Just before I went out and kept running, just before I was on the lam from myself I’d been out and staying with some friends but I had to leave. Even the best friends had dark sides, had anger welling up in them and letting loose on the wrong crowds. So I took off from there and ran from there never looking back, and so I’ve been there, yes, I’ve been there and I’ve always got an ear to listen, I’ve always got money when I got money to give to those who have fallen through the cracks and who have lost sight of everything we see.