Last year there was a shooting at a Men’s Homeless Shelter down the street from where I work.
Shortly after the police arrived ( Danger or no Danger when it’s lunch time I lunch ) I was on my way out to grab a bite and stopped to ask on of the Shelter’s clients what happened and he told me.
I learned two very interesting things in that conversation:
The first thing is, it was a surprise to everyone there that a Homeless guy owned something as valuable as a gun. Because for the most part they don’t own anything that could get a cold hard cash for.
The second thing is, if people see a woman who looks somewhat yuppified talking to a cadaverous looking homeless guy their first reaction is to throw themselves between you and the Homeless guy like one of those soldiers from the black and white war movies who throw themselves on top of live grenades to save their friends.
Did I feel like I was in danger?
The only danger I feel in that area is that I’m going to be wiped out by a bus because some of those drivers don’t understand the concept of RED LIGHTS and Bicycle riders who ride up my back and put me in danger of getting a bike wheel embedded in my butt.
Either one of those things has got to hurt.
A month or so later I was in Port Townsend and me and my husband were on the way to our car after a dinner when I saw this little old lady toddling around on – I kid you not the most gigantic platform shows in the world.
Gene Simmons from KISS would have brained her for those shoes.
Anyway. She asked for help- she couldn’t find her car.
So I asked what kind of car she drove ( which was scary because the little old lady in platform shoes and the expensive coat with the even more expensive broach tacked to the front of it said smelled like she may have downed every single bottle of Gin in town ) and she said in that careful way really, really drunk people talk so you don’t know they’re really, really drunk:
” I think it’s a Mustang “
” Okay.” I said letting it slide because it was a rental and maybe I thought she had just picked it up.
” And it’s gray.”
” That’s helpful I said ” as we began to search for her maybe gray Mustang while my husband went to get our car in the next lot over.
AFter a few minutes of looking around and we ended up alone in the corner of the lot she leaned over and slurred in my ear ” To tell you the truth, I’m not sure I actually drove it here.”
So there I was, in a corner of a parking lot alone with a drunk old woman in giant platform shoes and I’m afraid because …hell…I was in alone with a drunk woman in giant platform shoes who couldn’t remember if she’d driven her car that evening or not.
I looked wildly around and spotted a gray car. ” Hey there’s your car I said pointing.
When she turned to look at what I was pointing at I took off.
So what freaked me out enough to leave some poor old drunk woman in the corner of a parking lot where she probably spent the next half hour trying to open up someone else’s car?
Because I was in a strange town, with a strange woman who couldn’t remember whether she had driven her car earlier that evening.
And she was bombed out of her skull.
I didn’t feel safe.
Simple as that.
So I saved myself.
I’d like to say I was more noble. Helpful. Caring.
On the other hand…when you think about it I was.