Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bad news

I have to say, it's been a bad couple of days for people near me.

The first incident was something I observed on my walk home from the train station on Tuesday.  I noticed a group of bike police amassed on the sidewalk, surrounding, but also sort of ignoring a homeless man who lives in my neighborhood. I know this man, not well, but he introduced himself to me right after I moved into my place. He walked with me from home to Union Station one day (about a 10 minute walk), pointing things out and, eventually, serenading me. He never asked for money, but when we got to Union Station, I gave him a dollar and he went away. It was an odd encounter, he actually had a lovely voice, and, while I never felt threatened, I certainly was uncomfortable.

Over the years, he always says hello to me. He has told me I "look good" and "don't lose that weight" and once even proposed marriage. I know I've written about him several times. So, while we're not actually friends, I was concerned when I saw him surrounded by police. I slowed down as I walked past and one of the policmen (they were all men--one guy was even clamping a stub of a cigar between his teeth!) caught my eye and said, "Are you a social worker?"

That gave me a chance to stop and talk to him and express my concern about my homeless friend, who, as it turned out, was being arrested for public drunkness. He looked terrible, bloated and with horribly bloodshot eyes. I felt bad standing there and talking about him but I wanted to tell the cops to be nice to him, I was assured that they would. Turns out that his father is a boxing champion. He'll pay for the lawyers, etc., and my homeless friend will get off the booze for a few weeks or months and then, no doubt, I'll see him hanging out on the street again. Sigh.


The next terrible thing happened at work, though I was away. Yesterday, I was in a meeting that kept me out of the building all day. While I was gone, my old and favorite boss, Larry, took a fall in our hallway and broke his femur and hurt his knee. Still makes me shudder when I think about it. He had the knee replace years ago but I still can't fathom how it happened. Apparently, he was crying out in pain and the ambulance took a LONG time to come. I feel terrible that I wasn't there, but what could I have done? He had surgery and we now have his hospital phone number, so I will call today.


Last, is something even more remote, but my good friend TR is having a major family drama that necessitated his wife leaving suddenly to try and help out a relative back in the mid-west. It's another sad situation, this time involving a child (who is not physically injured, at least), custody issues and mental illness.

So many bad things...I feel luck to be spared and helpless in the face of it all. Life can really be cruel.

Grateful for: another day.

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