Monday, September 17, 2012

Loud cell phone lady

“Gambling can turn into a dangerous two-way street when you least expect it. Weird things happen suddenly, and your life can go all to pieces.” — Hunter S. Thompson

I OVERHEARD a distressing conversation recently in TJ Maxx. I wasn't trying to listen; I just happened to be shopping in the vicinity of a woman talking really loudly on her cell phone. She was telling someone about a conversation she'd had with a Third Person (TP) who apparently likes to gamble at Prairie Meadows

Loud Cell Phone Lady (LCPL) said that she'd asked TP how she'd made out the other evening at the casino. 

TP replied, "Not very well."

Then LCPL said she told TP, "Oh you always say that, but you do alright. You never lose very much."

TP said in reply, "But you don't understand. I think it's becoming a problem."

And then LCPL told TP, "Oh come on, there's nothing wrong."

I relayed this little drama to Paul who said, "Eeeeeeee! Was it incredibly hard not to yell at LCPL and tell her that if someone reaches the point where they say they think they have a problem, they have a problem, and the last thing they need is to have someone discount what they're saying?!" 

Yes, it was.

The best thing that happened to me personally in the last month was having two people call me "kind" and two others tell me that I'd made their day. The first was a man looking for cans in the alley. After giving him a sackful from the office and a sackful from the van that happened to be in there on the way to being returned, we chatted for a little while. 

He's lives in the tent city near the river. I asked him about the just-scabbing-over, long wound on his hand and arm. He'd tussled with a raccoon who was stealing food from his tent. I tried to talk him into letting me take him to Broadlawns, but to no avail.

A couple of weeks ago, someone else was scanning for cans. I gave him what few we'd accumulated since we loaded up the last fellow. I visited with him, too. He's unemployed, but not homeless. He lives in an apartment in the near downtown area and rides a bike for transportation. I'm not sure what his story is. He's definitely seen hard times; he looks pretty well beaten up and beaten down. 

I asked him whether he might like to make some money cleaning our office once week. He said he did. He spends an hour and a half on Thursday afternoons vacuuming, dusting, taking out the recycling and the garbage and washing what few dishes there might be in the sink. Two weeks in, so far it's worked out, and I have to say he vacuums the heck out of the carpet. We'll see.

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