I consider this a “warts and all” blog about myself. I will (and have) post about things that may not put me in a very good light. I’m not ashamed to say that I am human; I have flaws; I make mistakes.
This week is an example. I’m hoping that people will feel free to comment, pro, con, or indifferent, on this. G’head, I’m an adult and responsible for my own actions.
A couple of nights ago, as I was walking up to my front door, he approached me. “Hey, Brian,” he said. I ignored him. “Brian, hey, Brian,” he kept repeating. I ignored him until he was almost next to me. Finally I looked over my shoulder at him. I stood on my front porch, facing the door, key in hand and, basically, my back to him.
“Do you have fluorescent lights in your kitchen?”
“Why?” I said. Not “yes” or “no” but “why?” Can you tell I don’t like him?
“W-well,” he stammered, paused, and continued, “We’ve got a bulb out, and I bought a replacement tube, but it don’t work.” His words were a bit slurred around his lack of teeth and his apparent blood-alcohol level. “I was thinkin’ I could try it in your fixture, if you’ve got the same kind as we do…”
“Ask Chris,” I said, flatly. Chris is the landlord. He’s actually very helpful, I thought. Why wouldn’t you ask the landlord for help like that?
“Oh, well, I didn’t wanna bug him. I just thought…”
“Or take it back to the store.”
“I, I mean, I don’t… I don’t have eight dollars to blow on a light bulb, y’know!”
I said nothing further. Still wasn’t my problem.
“Oh, well… nevermind.” He hunched over and went back to the stoop of the apartment he shared with my next door neighbor.
I went inside, fuming. Why does he continue to talk to me? I resent his attention. I just want him to leave me alone. Is that so hard to understand?
I did not want him in my apartment, not at all. I’ve seen him digging in other people’s garbage. He’s shown a level of interest in me and my things that makes me feel creeped out. He keeps a shopping cart in the narrow strip of yard behind my building, and fills it with bottles that he cashes in regularly. One Saturday morning I woke up, opened the curtains to see the sun – and there was Old Barfy, messing around with his scrounged cans. He immediately ducked down to avoid being seen.
Yes, he’s shown some compassion for my problems in the past – particularly with regard to Smacky, my cat, who went missing last year. Yes, O.B.’s son died in Iraq, and I think one of the worst tragedies in human existence is a parent who outlives their children.
But when he talks to me, I feel a skin-crawling need to get away. I can’t avoid him enough. And the fact that his contribution to the neighborhood is to sit for hours on end, drinking, or collecting cans for the nickle deposit, or that he was apparently evicted a year or two ago but managed to talk a lonely old lady into sympathizing with him enough to take him in, like a stray… He can do what he wants, and other people can respond to him as they want.
Me, I just want him to leave me alone.