Monday 5 September 2011

Day 156: Failed park day

Today, Antonia thought she would go on a fishing expedition in the park, and I thought I would bring a flask of coffee and the next vampire novel and sit around in the shade.  It was not to be and in a way I think this is typical of trying to hang out in public in America.  No sooner had I taken my things out of my bag than some random guy wandered up to join me.  He was carrying a change of clothes and a crisp packet containing something and although he was quite young, he appeared to have suffered a stroke.  He had no money, no food, no way to get back to his home, and a tenuous grip on what was going around him.  He spoke in fits and starts and began each new chunk of conversation by telling me his name.  He wasn't able to remember that I was from Europe or that I had no money with me, even after the fifth telling.  As for the things he told me, I have no idea how likely all of them were, but it did seem to be true that everyone knew him around here, because before long, a lady he called his cousin strolled up and said 'hi' to him.  I thought she might bail him out, but no, she had just ridden into town with empty pockets to look for a job.  Anyway, this was all very well as far as it goes, though it wasn't exactly a conversation, except that it seemed like the guy also had a set of mood swings that he cycled through: sad, hopeful, ashamed, but also, eventually, hostile.  At which point I decided that since he wasn't leaving, I would.  And the moral of this story is: that's what you get when you don't want social security.  People not getting the help and support they need, and other people unable to use the public spaces as they would like. 

1 comment: