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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

streets of san francisco

“Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.”

i stopped by his house with a friend to see how he was doing. he was seen earlier in pretty bad shape, having been drinking for an indeterminable amount of time. he had been incoherent and spouting off about how terrible things were going for him and he was kind of done with it all. he had marked in red marker on both arms the words "do not resucitate". he had frightened the people who saw him because he was walking with such darkness surrounding him.

so i stopped by his house to find him shouting angrily from the other side of the door. but when he realized it was me and that he would have an audience, he let me in and began to do his thing. he had moved his sofa into the hallway of his floor by the elevators. it was dissheveled and acted like a beacon foretelling what was to be encountered further down that floor.

he repeated himself several times about being evicted. he had received a letter from the manager with a list of indiscretions, including exposing himself to others in the hallways, and crawling through the lobby babbling nonsense as he moved along. he claimed that he doesn't do things like that, and the manager was lying. i asked if he remembered what happened, and he retorted- well,no... but i don't do those things... who can argue with logic like this.

so he is angry and he is trying to get rid of most of the stuff in his apartment. things are strewn all over and many cupboard doors are open with nothing inside. most of what was there seems to be on the floor. and he plops himself down on his floor on a dirty square of rug and swigs from a 1/2 gallon of vodka. he holds court from this position for the rest of the visit, feeling sorry for himself and loving the attention. i admired the magically marked words on his forearms. we talked about residential treatment and he liked this idea. but he wasn't ready to go today.

all he wanted was his vodka in his darkly lit apartment. he had spent the money when he was released from psych and he planned to see that plan through to the end. my role was slight. i was simply a passerby today. all i could do was be present and remind him that he was connected to life by more than just a tether. that hope was real, even if he couldn't tune it in. and i would be there again to offer to help.

as i left, i couldn't help but recall some of the situational cop dramas that i had seen during my childhood. hill street blues, police woman, mod squad, and streets of san francisco. they all were dimly lit and peppered with insanity. the scene from which i just emerged could have been in any one of those shows. it was drama, it was theater, and it was addiction. my job is often simply to witness and wait for opportunity. if it ever comes....

and now a word from our sponsor.....

today's sound choice is the theme song "from the streets of san francisco". check it out... what a line-up.


1 comment:

Mark said...

Wow. Thanks for keeping me sober today.
Unfortunately, the bottom for most turns out to be death. All you can do is stand in the light and hold out your hand if he chooses to walk toward you.

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