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Monday, September 28, 2009


It's Sunday night - or rather Monday morning. It's past 3 and I can't sleep. I fell asleep watching a movie earlier so naturally I'm awake now, while the rest of the world is sleeping. It's annoying, but at the same time I kind of like the fact that everyone I know is safe in bed. I don't have to worry about going to street fairs or dinners. I can sit here and be alone and not worry about my phone ringing or people texting me to ask what I'm doing. Nobody is worrying about the fact that I don't want to be social. I don't want to go out with my friends or go to the stupid street fair. I don't want to do anything. Yet, I am restless. I have been for a few days. I can't sit still when I am at the bar. I can't sit still when I'm watching a movie. In fact the only time my body isn't twitching is when I'm asleep and lately I seem to only be able to sleep in spurts. Naps here or there. Not at night. Not when normal people with normal jobs sleep. Maybe 3 or 4 hours, but then I wake up from a bad dream. I woke up earlier tonight and even though I can't remember my dream, I know I died in it. I remember that much of the dream and my physical reaction - racing heart beat, out of breath, adrenaline rush - let me know that something bad happened and I died before I woke up. This is all I dream about anymore.

Last night, while my friends were out at the bar drinking, I went for a walk. I was waiting for my boyfriend to come home from work and we had decided earlier that we would stay in and watch movies instead of going out. It wasn't late - around 8 or 9 PM, but I couldn't sit still in the apartment so I went for a walk. I called a couple people I haven't talked to in awhile and left messages when they didn't pick up. Then I paid attention to my surroundings because we don't live in the nicest area of San Diego. While walking a homeless man came from the other direction and asked for sixty cents. I don't usually have cash on me so I apologized, "Sorry, I don't have any change." Then I remembered that I did have a few dollars in my wallet that I forgot about. "Wait, I have a dollar." I gave it to the man, not out of pity or self righteousness, but because it could happen to me one day. It could happen to anyone really. We get our degrees, our jobs, our houses, etc. but there's no guarantee that it can't all vanish over night. There's no guarantee that I will never need to ask for help for a stranger. Hell, as many times as I've been stranded on the side of the road it's my karmic duty to help this man out. I give him the dollar and his whole face lights up.

"Thank you so much," he tells me. "You didn't have to you know."

I just smile.

"You are really pretty," he says. "I'm not trying to hit on you, I just mean you are a really beautiful woman."

I say thanks, and smile bashfully. I don't know why I don't keep walking, but his body language stops me. He keeps a safe distance from me and for whatever reason I feel safe standing in front of a busy restaurant. He can't stand still either and moves from left to right, messes with his hat, plays with his backpack.

Randy, as I soon learned, talked my ear off for about 45 minutes. He told me about all the famous people he met in Santa Monica. How he met Sean Penn and his brother, Chris, in the hospital and how upset he was when Chris died not too long after that. "He was such a nice guy," he told me, "but he drank himself to death." He cried when he told me his mother had recently passed away and that he had started drinking again because of her death. He told me how he caught his wife cheating and asked if he was right in beating the man - almost to death. He told me how he spent a year in prison for battery charges that were originally attempted murder of this guy. He sang his favorite Guns N' Roses song and told me how he met Axl Rose and that they used to go grocery shopping together. He told me all this and more. He asked me what to do about the married woman who managed the laundry mat and helps him out from time to time. He recently decided he was in love with her. He asked me if I had a boyfriend and if I was in love with him. Eventually he ran out of things to talk about and walked away as abruptly as he had walked up to me. I walked back home unsure what to make of it all, but laughing because it was the most interesting conversations I had had in weeks.

Plans changed when Brent got home from work and we ended up going out after all. After preparing myself to stay in for the night it was a hard adjustment to put myself into a social mood. Yes, they are all my friends at the bar I always go to, but this is just how it is for shy people. Sometimes you just have to prepare yourself to be social. There was karaoke and lots of drunk strangers trickling in from the street fair and as I looked around, generally annoyed by the crowd, I realized that maybe Randy needed the sixty cents, but I was the one who needed the chat with a complete stranger. Brent asked me what was wrong and I assured him it was nothing I was just in a quiet mood, but really I was and still am just completely restless.

1 comment:

  1. Your compassion is commendable and unfortunately more rare these days. I've been involved lately in helping the homeless and homeless veterans. What I have learned is that giving them money is only enabling them - to purchase alcohol, drugs, etc. But giving them food or coupons for food is a lot better. A friend carries Power Bars in her glove box for such occasions. I thought that was a super idea; I now carry Clif Bars or Power Bars in my car as well.