Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Outside My Window Today

About thirty or forty or more minutes ago, a man was placed in handcuffs on 18th Avenue between Lincoln and Irving. I didn't see this happen. I saw him sitting on the side walk, his back resting against an apartment building with two park rangers (I think) standing over him. They were waiting. They were all waiting. I checked in on them now and again, but there was no change to this attitude. He seemed well dressed. Nice shoes, dark blue jeans, a white and blue plaid shirt button up shirt. The type of thing you would wear to a party. He had no hat.

I sat down to write.

After about ten minutes there was a commotion. There was a gruff sort of loud grumblings. I wondered if the man was crazy or complaining about his situation.

Outside there was a third ranger standing beside his parked unmarked car, talking to one of the rangers who was waiting. The man, still handcuffed to the ground, stood in the shade of the first ranger. And there was the local homeless woman yelling at the handcuffed man.

She looks like a live action version of the crazy cat lady on The Simpsons, except she is rarely funny. She sits mostly at 19th and Irving and begs for change. We'll, that's what it seems like she does. She speaks her own language, cobbled together by her memories of what words could possibly mean to others, but now have a new or no meaning at all to her. "As she walks, green toothy, black morphine change! CHANGE!" This is not an exact quote, and maybe more poetical than she strives for herself. "Menstruation like my father. Thank you. Kindness. Bleed like a signpost." She said, as I handed her a bag with five dollars, a sandwich, cigarettes and a candy bar. Mostly, what comes out sounds more like the non verbal utterances of a woman who can't stop her mind from moving, and has long ago tried to stop her mouth from replying to her mind.
She, was talking to the man in handcuffs. I never heard what any of the rangers said. I never heard what he said. But I could hear what she said, "Sorry now! Sorry now! Can't undo it. Trees and the sky and the houses all know it now! They don't care! I got a cigarette, they don't care! Fool, fuck the cut and take it while you can!" Then she walked away.

This isn't an exact quote.

But...it seemed to break a bleak tension among the rangers and the man on the sidewalk in handcuffs. She walked away, continuing in her rumbling mumbling sort of way. And they all laughed. Then she turned around and walked back. They all stopped.

She walked up to the man on the ground. The first ranger moved a little, in case she tried anything. "You got a quarter?"

"No." He said, shaking his head.

"To bad, you need it." And she walked off again.

Some time later a parametric came and gave the guy some water and a wet towel. Then they drove away. That seemed like a waste of gas. I guess park rangers don't carry around those things. They uncuffed him, shook their fingers at him. He nodded. He nodded. He signed a paper. He nodded. They gave him his hat back. He gave them the towel the paramedics had left him. He lipped away. His dark blue jeans and his nice shirt, now clearly very dirty.

The rangers laughed for about ten minutes. They recounted some story or another to each other. They shook hands. The two rangers walked back to the park...or off into the sunset, and the third got in his unmarked car and drove away.

It must have been a weird day for everyone.

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