If you come in my cage I'll eat you too!

Monday, October 01, 2007

The secret life of "charming" homeless men

20 years ago when I first got my job with the city, I was pretty naive. Having been raised by a mother who was given eviction notices on more than a few occasions, I sympathized somewhat with homeless people. There but for the grace of God go I, and all that.

On my way to work I pass a McDonald's. It's a popular hangout for the begging crowd, mostly consisting of Black guys in their 30's and 40's. One of the guys that hung out there 20 years ago was a diabetic in a wheelchair. He would banter with me, try to charm me. He called me "Red" and "Redbone". Over the months I saw him, he would ask for money and I usually gave him some or would buy him lunch from time to time.

He was missing one foot at first, then they chopped off more of his leg, and then the other foot and the other leg and on up to his upper thighs. I made a joke to him once, a line from the movie, Little Big Man. when Little Big Man comes upon the snake oil salesman, who has been killing people with his toxic concoctions and has been the victim of justifiable vigilantism and is missing body parts as a result, he says,"They're whittlin' you away quite serious!"

Also at this time I had met a co-worker. She sometimes would talk about her ex husband. How he was violent. She did not talk about him often, but sometimes if you said something that reminded her of him, she would tell a story about him. One time I was telling my co-workers about the 2 cats I just acquired. She told us that she once had a cat she really liked but that her husband would throw it across the room, against walls, and she was sure he would kill it, so she gave it up.

One day I was walking past McDonald's and the homeless guy said, "Say, you work for the city, right? Maybe you know my ex-wife, ------." I was shocked to hear the name of the woman who told stories about her abusive husband.

Here this guy had had a wife with a good city job and health care. All he had to do was be nice to her but this was impossible for him to do. His ex later married an electrician(a really nice guy), they bought a big house and drove expensive cars. She just retired.

I learned a valuable lesson from that experience.


At 2:38 PM , Blogger ricpic said...

People are always ruining themselves. It's built into us. Most have the sense to fight it. Some embrace it. Absolutely nothing to be done.

If I had it to do all over again I'd make myself into a carpenter/electrician/plumber/jack-of-all-trades type. Write your own ticket. Be your own boss. In demand everywhere. Tell people to eff off if they push you too hard. Screw lonely housewives. Paradise.

At 12:15 PM , Blogger Miss Carnivorous said...

Worthy goals, my friend.

At 3:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the guy hated cats. Big deal.

At 10:33 AM , Blogger Miss Carnivorous said...

yeah and women too, and work, whatever, anon.

At 10:58 AM , Blogger Miss Carnivorous said...

Oh wait and other Black men too.


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