Monday, August 27, 2007

Crazy Drunk

"She's crazy drunk," Ferret told me of Clara, the homeless woman, this morning. "You think I am crazy then you need to take another look at her."

Clara was sloppy this morning, looking disheveled.  According to Big S she had sat up all night drinking wine and singing old songs drunkenly from memory 

"It's pitiful," Big S told me and that is a lot coming from a guy who spends his days sitting down at a shopping center panhandling.

"She's gonna get arrested," I said, realizing her path to the dark side is almost complete.

We all watched as Clara accosted a shopper within earshot with drunken brazenness.

"My car is out of gas," she said, slurring her words and briskly following. "Can you spare a few dollars?"

The patron's step quickened as they escaped Clara's grasp. They ignored her.

"Fucker!" Clara hollered out in desperation, thwarted. 

"Get a job and quit this stupid shit!" the young female patron hollered back, frustrated, as she glided into her safe car to drive away.

Ferret was drinking as well -- a forty ounce of beer in a brown paper bag chasing away last night's hang over.

"You don't get sloppy drunk like her," I told Ferret of his drinking.

"If I go to jail then it means I can't drink or smoke. Jail is for idiots," Ferret replied. "I pace myself."

I admired his honesty. He could have told me some bullshit about not being an alcoholic.

Loneliness overcame Clara and she sat down on the concrete beside us. Me, Big S, and Ferret were sitting on a bench next to the grocery store smoking and drinking coffee from the diner. We warily kept an eye on her as she sat talking to herself caught in the throes of drunken madness.

"I don't ask for much," she said to herself. "All I want is a few dollars."

She was mad at the way that young woman handled her. Her frustration could be heard in her voice.

"You need to go sleep it off," Ferret then said, surprising us. "You are going to ruin all our time down here when the police show up and they run everybody off."

"Fuck you, you damn nigger-ass motherfucker!" Clara said as she stood up and walked off huffily.

Me and Big S had to grab Ferret and keep him from getting up. He was fiery mad at her words.

"She's just drunk, man," I said. "She won't even remember saying it tomorrow."

"Don't let that stupid bitch get to you," Big S told Ferret, echoing me.

I ride down to the shopping center to get up material to write for my blog. I got more than I bargained for this morning. The drama was thick and palpable. It made me uncomfortable. It also reminds me why I try to stay away from drinking these days. It reminds me that I am one bad decision away from being in Clara's shoes. There is a tenuous line I walk everyday between drunken homelessness and homed bliss -- a line I no longer want to cross.   


Barb said...

Interesting bantering to be had down at the shopping center. I question my own generosity, and will surely make a difference next time I am confronted by a person in need. The ability to discern the diffence will be less of a struggle because of this insight!

I admire you, Andrew! As many blog followers do.

Have a blessed day!

LAB said...

It is a good sign that you know this....that you know about the thin line you walk.

I always enjoy your stories...thanks so much for sharing!

greglo said...

Hi andrew! indeed it seems like you got a lot more than you bargained for today. The post is terribly, dramatically and sadly beautiful. Ferret did demonstrate a heartwarming attention to Clara... even though it didn't last... ;-)
I cannot help thinking your friendship to him was somehow responsible for the kindness displayed there.

I am eager to see what will slowly happen to Clara among this Gang you guys are!

I love this post!

Have a great day Andrew!

With Love from frogland!


PS : BTW, with such greatness of heart I'd stop worrying about God or some superior being. If He/Her/It exists, then your heart seems slike a very pleasant place for Him/Her/It to be.

Stacy said...

Oh my Clara is a mess. I hope this doesn't sound insensitive but I laughed out loud a bit when I read this. (except for the part where Ferret was called a ni^^er.)I know mental illness is nothing to laugh at (my sister is bipolar) but I think it was just the way it was written, very well-done Andrew (as always).
Hope you have a great day!


I have to say that I really liked Ferrets reasoning with trying to avoid the crime stoppers. That's actually a good reason. Perhaps someone should kindly mention this to Clara when she's come off of her drunken haze!!

Frances said...

It's amazing what you overhear just walking around isn't it?
I live in New York, so you can imagine right.
Love your style.
Found you on BlogExplosion.

David said...

Hi Andrew

I came across your blog some months ago & I know where you have been. I too suffer from bouts of severe depression where self harm has seemed to be the only way out & have been sober for the last 4 months...I know how hard it is but youb are inspiring.

Chandira said...

Hey Andrew, thanks for the comment this morning on my post about out of body experiences and science.

It's interesting, I know a few schizophrenics, and I have to say, I think a lot of things are wrongly labeled as symptoms of something, when they're really something else. Schizophrenia is fascinating for that reason. So much gets lumped in there under one label, but when you take it by itself it is something profound. I think mental illness of most kinds is really not that well understood by conventional doctors. I'm betting nobody who diagnosed you has ever had anything like an out of body experience, or had something happen that feels totally real, but according to mainstream science is just a 'hallucination' etc..
In a lot of other societies you'd be honoured as a shaman for those things.

I had a friend many years ago that was sectioned because she saw spirits, but lucky for me, where I grew up, I was 'just' psychic. I really think if I'd been born in different circumstances with less understanding parents, etc, I'd be on meds for some of what I see/hear etc.. Either that or burned at the stake.

I don't think it's the thing like that that is the problem, I think people's responses are. They do a lot of damage to people's minds when they deny things like that have any validity at an early age, and that adds to the 'problem' a hundredfold. I think that is where 'schizophrenia' develops, in trying to deal with people telling you you are somehow wrong all the time. That may be oversimplifying things, I don't have a degree in it, but that's my own observations.

I hope this new science goes a long way towards clearing up all these grey areas and misunderstandings.

LM said...

I love your blog and your honesty and have been reading for the past month. You are a wonderful person and such a great son and friend.

But I don't like the new "The Fourth Avenue Blues" picture! Please go back to the previous country view.


Shruti said...

Hey Andrew,
The new look on the blog is really cool. I like it a lot.

Anonymous said...

Love the new look on the blog! Don't change a thing.....

Cheryl said...

That shopping center sounds like trouble sometimes. Clara is on a tailspin it seems. Like you said, I hope she doesn't make it bad for everyone else who hangs out there. Seems to me like you have plenty to write about without 'the gang'. You know us...we love to read whatever you write. It's never mundane.

Thanks for the wonderful comment you left me. I'd love to hang out with you in your small southern town.

Love the new banner, btw.


Just popping over this am to say Hey..and that I love your new look!! Very nice and clean and crisp!!

Tee said...

You absolutely do not want to cross that line, ever again! You have to remember not everyone wants help. Clara has not hit her personal bottom yet, hopefully she will seek help when she does. You just continue to make the right choices. :-)

Rich said...

Does this dude Ferret really look like one?

what an insane bunch of characters.

Anonymous said...

I have firefox and your blog header is looking weird in it. The categories are huge and covering your header! Otherwise, great blog Andrew, I love reading it everyday. :)

Ellie said...

Very interesting new look. I love it!
I find it amazing how being drunk really just takes over, and then there's no point in going back.


Anonymous said...

Don't like the new look but love the blog.

Josie Two Shoes said...

Missing you this morning, Andrew... hope you're doing ok!

justLacey said...

Haven't been able to comment on blogger for a while. It always times out. I am still reading though and love the new look.

Stacy said...

Missing your morning post Andrew. Hope all is well.

Scott said...

Awesome writing, man! I think I am going to bring up your blog at tonight's A.A. meeting. Are you a Christian?

Leann said...

One one had ya gotta feel bad for the woman, on the other ya gotta wonder what brought her to that level of exhistance. For some it's a heartbeat away, for others it one bad decision after another.

STACY'S TRIP said...

where r u today? I read you everyday. Thanks. Stacy

Anonymous Boxer said...

I am new here, but your writing is riveting.

amelia said...

Where are you??????????

CarmenSinCity said...

Nice blog! I just found you today and I'm glad I did. I'm also in my thirties and still battling with my addictions. I'm trying to rebuild too. Been trying for a few years, so we'll see how it goes. I'll definitely be back for more inspiration!