Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rough Spot

Word travels fast within the gang as I have often said. They are some of the most gossiping folks I know -- always meddling in each other's lives. Big S told me this afternoon that Ferret was in a bad way and not leaving his campsite. He has been paying Dexter to buy him beer at the convenience store and then bring it to him. I decided to get a to-go box of dinner at Sarah Jay's eatery and take it to him -- worried he was going to get malnourished.

The walk to Ferret's campsite is a pleasant experience. Across the tracks and beyond the depot, a tangle of woods skirts the river. A maze of trails intersperse these woods leading to different fishing holes used commonly by elder black men. Ferret's camp is where Moore's creek intersects the river and he has been known to fish for supper some days. I found Ferret sitting next to a dormant campfire drinking an ice beer. I startled him as I walked up.

"What's going on, man?" I asked shaking his hand.

"Not much, dawg,"

"Big S says you're having a hard time."

"I'm having the time of my life," Ferret replied as he laughed drunkenly and finished off a can of beer.

I handed Ferret the to-go box of dinner and he opened it to look at the contents.

"Thanks," he said of the burger and fries I had brought. "You want a beer?"

"I can't drink these days."

"Why?" Ferret asked.

"I've developed an allergy to alcohol."

I almost felt like I was lying, but I am allergic to alcohol in a certain sense.

"That's a shame," Ferret said eating the burger as he cracked open another beer.

We sat for awhile as I listened to Ferret talk. His mental illness was really manifesting itself in his outlook on life. Paranoia. Suspicion. Imagined drama. All things I have experienced when drinking and not taking my medications just like him. I long ago realized after all I've done for Ferret over the years that I couldn't change him. I could make his life easier, though, with food and the occasional pack of cigarettes. Most people can't understand why someone would want to live this way. I can. I did. And I sometimes want to go back.

"I'll bring you some supper tomorrow as well," I finally told Ferret as I got up off the ground to leave.

Ferret thanked me and I had a solemn walk back to my car to drive home. Ferret is living almost exactly like I did when I was homeless. It's uncanny, the resemblance. I won't lie and say I don't think about joining him some days. If I was still drinking, I probably would. Thank god for my sobriety and the medications that temper these urges. I don't want to go back to that pitiful existence that my sick and twisted mind can think of as a grand experience.


LAB said...

That was a very nice thing to do for your friend....I know he greatly appreciated it.

As for your last post and Rosa....maybe you need to believe her and leave George to being George....he may be upset that you are focusing on something positive in your life....just my opinion...

Portia said...

that "allergy" answer was very clever:)

might you go camping?

Barb said...

As always, great resolve! Kudo's to you, for being such a great friend to Ferret~
I join you in thanking God for your sobriety and medication that you are so faithfully taking.


Anonymous said...

Hey Andrew, I understand you've been having a tough time these past few weeks with your desire to spirit away from the binding ties of society and the responsibilities of daily life as a homeowner. I just want to make sure that you don't start to associate homelessness with an appreciation of nature and just being out in it. I know that your experience of nature was most often accompanied by drunkenness and the notion of escape. These things can be excised from your experience, and you may be able to get the adventure bug out of your system if you plan an excursion including camping and travel for both yourself and Rosa... and Maggie!
It would help you both bond if you could show Rosa why you love to be out in a tent at night, and how to cook a delicious meal over the fire. Then, maybe, you both could share the outdoors while bringing the home that you have in each other along with you. I'm not sure whether this will do the trick or not, but I can't see how it would hurt. You could even choose a cool campsite for your first outing to make a transition from house to campsite to bush camping. Horse Pens 40 would be a great initial trip.
Let me know what you think...
Your friend, H

CJM-R said...

Hard to add to the comments, they are usually so interesting and full of good advice.

The mind plays tricks on us... so good you can see that when you are taking your meds.

Again, thanks for sharing your heart the way that you do.

Chandira said...

That was a great post.
It reminded me of myself in a way, because I heard that voice in the back of my head that says things like "well, you know that person will only spend any money you give them on drink", etc, when I see a homeless person. I've usually ignored that voice, but it's there, I'll admit. I've recieved a bit of criticism for my ignoring it, too, which is sad.
It's great to read it from the point of view of somebody who really knows what it's like, and to be reminded that kindness is something worth bothering with, regardless, and that it does make a difference..

Your blog is really interesting.

Whitney said...

You are such a good friend. I hope one day they will know how good a friend you are to them and appreciate you.

Cheryl said...

What you're doing for Ferret is perfect. You're being a friend.

I can't wait till you have a camera. I'd love to see a picture of the woods skirting the river.

PS. I'm glad that my book has traveled. Are you still interested in the magazines? I have a few.


Andrew: Great post. I understand although I can't completely empathize, but I understand how it could be tempting at times to return to that life. To just be numb and not feel a thing. To just be ignorant to all thats outside of the safe bubble of a mental melt down..I know.
You sound good though, you sound good, and rest assured, this mindset will pass.
That's wonderful that you're helping Ferret-perhaps that's just what you need right now, a reality therapy-to see him as he is, reminds you of how dark it was for you and how easy it is to get sucked back into that vortex. Hang in there my friend, you're doing the right thing!
if you're looking for a laugh tonight, eat some chili and beans and then light your farts with rosa. :)
hee-hee. talk about joining humanity..
Have a great evening.
Sorry this one was so long and drawn out.

pattycakes said...

keep on the way you are, i know it hard to not want to run away to the woods but rosa would be hurt and worry about you . i hope you continue to take ur meds and feel good . you are a great guy . thanks for sharing so much of your life :)

Girl of Destiny said...

Hey Andrew,
I came across your blog a week back and have been hooked up to it ever since!
I admire your strength and also your simple writing style. It makes a very interesting read.
It's also heartening to see that whatever distractions you may face, you still make the right decision to stick by your family and friends.
Keep up the good work buddy!