Stories from the Mission... bit 3
The counterclockwise man.
While at Chicago Read I saw some strange things. Joe was a young guy that was wired differently. He had a hard time being definite about things. Instead of ever saying 'no', he would say, 'I don't think that the person talking might have thought that way'. It got really annoying when he would pick up one of the ringing pay phones and say, 'I think that there might be a person calling' instead of a simple hello. Joe also had a compulsion to walk counterclockwise around the main room, and he just couldn't let anyone pass him on the right. As he stood to the right of the TV in front of me one night, a nurse at the desk behind me asked him to come to the desk. Unfortunately the phone on the wall to the left of me started ringing and a girl answered it. He was stuck. He stood there, not looking frustrated, but a man resigned to his limitations. her conversation of the phone went on for some time, oblivious to the stuck Joe hovering patiently near by. I wouldn't want to be Joe... heck, I didn't want to be me.
Me... how did I get to be that me? I had a good childhood, I wasn't abused. We ate good, my parents never got divorced and we lived in a nice clean and safe neighborhood. My parents weren't the most hands on, but I've heard of worse. I had asthma attacks that where hard to deal with, but many kids have worse medical problems. I went to good schools, had a nice forest preserve near by and my Dad and I built a cool tree house in the big weeping willow in the back yard. How was it that I had become a shambling mess that dreamed of death? I am homeless now not just because I have no where else to go. At 48 years of age I should be married, have a good job, a nice house and some kids to play with. Having no place to go I realized was just a symptom of a much bigger problem Back in Purgatory I had time to think, looking back to my earliest bits and parts of memories to see if I could recall more, to find that spot that altered my course enough to end up here.
A few things stood out. A lack of confidence in the things I didn't know that well, and too much pride in the things I did was a common story line in my life. Then there was the day that I accepted Jesus Christ into my life as my personal savior. When I told the girl that I was living with about it she barely noticed. She was mad about something and had no idea of just how much that meant to me. As big as a personal milestone that was to me, I had so much to learn yet. It was like I knew a word while the rest of the dictionary waited to be read.
My baseline for women used to be breathing, but now after a lot of failed relationships, I am looking for a good Christian woman. I used to think that politics would be a problem, or if she where a Green bay fan, but those are so minor when compared to the knowledge that she might not be with me in heaven. Funny how I used to think I was middle of the road... it took a wash down the gutter to see just how far off Gods path I had drifted.
I stepped off the subway car with the sounds and smells of the city clinging to me like cartoon germs in a tidy bowl commercial. I blindly follow the crowds up the steps to the street level. Stairs... in the past year I might have climbed one full set. As I write this 17 days later I still have to be careful on the four floors worth here at PGM. Emerging from the underground, the sun hits my head and I wonder how bad my scalp was going to get burned, I mean I hadn't even felt direct sunlight since the last July. I take a T shirt out of my bag and jam the neck hole on my skull as a covering. With my shaggy hair, miserable attitude and now a makeshift turban on, it's no wonder people where getting out of my way. If they only knew that under it all I was as weak as a puppy.