Monday, November 16, 2009

Four Degrees

When we got up this morning it was four degrees.

After work today I stopped for a load of water and a tank of gas.

As I began putting gas in the car he made his way toward me. I anticipated a request for money but I was mistaken. "I need a ride to Tuba City." That's a distance of almost 80 miles and it was already half dark.

"I'm sorry. I'm not going that way." His next statement surprised me. "I'm drunk." I knew that but didn't expect him to volunteer the information.

About this time a man and his wife came out of the building and walked to the truck parked on the opposite side of the pump I was using. He began to speak to the husband but the husband smiled, pointed to the opposite side of the truck and said "Over there. Over there." The drunk walked around the truck and the husband looked at me an laughed. "I like to scare the women."

His wife got in the truck and refused to open the window so the drunk came back to our side and asked the husband for a ride to Tuba City. Pointing to the bed he said "I'll ride in the back."

The husband looked into the truck, laughed at his wife and said to the drunk "I'm going to the county jail. Want a ride?" The drunk was quick. "I just got out of there." He turned and walked away raising one hand in a jesture that wasn't intended for anyone in particular.

When I drove away he was approaching another vehicle asking for a ride. I had my coat zipped high and my collar up. He was dressed in a light jacket, no hat, no gloves.

About two weeks ago Julie received an email announcing the death of the janitor in her building. He died of exposure. He was employed but homeless.

When we got up this morning it was four degrees.

1 Comments:

Blogger SimplyTim said...

Paul,

Nice snapshot of a few moments in the context of area and day.

A question: would you have done anything differently in that interaction if you could revisit it?

Just wondering!

Tim

11/20/2009 03:48:00 PM  

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