Dear Diary 008: Blood on the Sidewalk
Yesterday Uganda’s highest ice caps split in half. Or at least that’s when it was discovered and reported.
Yesterday I also had my chi rearranged by a very capable Amma practitioner. I entered and then fled Powell’s Book Store (disoriented!) and then wrote product copy for approximately 35 pieces of activewear. While I was typing, a man was having his head smashed into the pavement just outside my window.
I heard the initial crash, which sounded like a large object falling. It ended up being the first bottle that was used to knock him to the ground.
The man on the ground – the one with the bottle-smashed, bleeding head – was named Robbie.
I’ll tell you how I know that.
I met him once on a sunny day at the intersection of 50th and Lincoln. I was riding up to Tabor with tan legs straight out of Tucson. He was on a three-wheeler, drunk as a skunk.
He wheeled around in a dangerously fast 360 (his feet were bare and he was shirtless) to look at me.
“Sweet Jeeeeezuz!” he said, “You must have the most beaudiful legs in the whole werlllllld.”
I thanked him and, though he leered a little, felt entertained by the interaction. I was having a good day. It was sunny.
Later on that same ride I met a man in his 70′s riding the original racing bike of his younger days. It had been repainted lemon yellow and had beautiful lug detailing. The old man was called Banks and he explained that it had been custom-made, though he couldn’t remember by whom. Banks and I rode slowly up to the top of the volcano and then did laps together, chatting as we went. My lungs did not get a good workout in, but when I got home my heart felt full and wonderful.
That was the day I met Robbie.
Robbie is a drunk. Sometimes a cantankerous one. I’ve found him passed out on the sidewalk more than once – shirt pulled up above his belly, 40oz still in his hand. It’s never pretty.
But he’s a good-natured drunk at least. Always smiling a little and maybe joking. Lewd and horrible also, but sort of jolly in his own way.
A week after I met him I saw him again – he was only wearing socks this time and he’d lost the three-wheeler. Yet another week passed and he had a new “old” bike. It went on and on like this. I often said hi to him, even when he was too incoherent to acknowledge me.
Last night two men beat his head into the sidewalk by my house. With their boots. Kicking and smashing.
We heard the escalation and went to the window. My neighbors were closer to the action and had the cops on scene.
A fire truck rolled up. Reports were taken. Arrests made.
Another homeless man was giving a report when two typical SE cyclists rode by on commuter bikes. They passed then circled back and one rolled up to the man who was giving a report.
“Is that Robbie”
“Robe-ee-err, you mean?”
“Yeah, it is.”
“Is he going to be ok?”
“You know… we really don’t know that right now.”
I sat on the porch listening in the dark until there was nothing else to listen to. I don’t know what happened to Robbie but I reckon he’ll be ok.
I went inside and made a smoothie.
Wrote about water repellent fleece jackets. Made it sound jazzy.
Then I went to sleep and dreamed about Robbie but there was no blood. Only three-wheeled bicycles and forty ouncers.