Tickets Found – 28 March 2014

Posted: March 28, 2014 in Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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28 March 2014

Tickets Found

 

On his usual corner was Chuck Senior and Goldie. A light dusting of snow fell overnight, but the freezing rain predicted, has held off.

“Hi Chuck, Any news about your missing tickets?”

“Well, you can’t find what was never lost in the beginning. I did something really dumb.” He formed his fingers into the shape of a gun, held them to the side of his head and said, “Boom”.

I told you that I received the tickets, by mail, in a big brown envelope. There was also a nice letter that said, I hope you enjoy attending the game with your daughter. I threw the envelope away. I didn’t have any use for it. I put the tickets in a smaller envelope with the rest of my papers. I must have looked in that envelope a hundred times. I was sorting through my envelopes last night and saw some advertising in one of them.  I pulled it out to throw in the trash and on the other side was printed my tickets. I guess they had gotten stuck together. So, this weekend I see the game with my daughter. I feel so stupid.”

A lady stopped by, “Hi Charlie, do you have time to talk with me?”

“I always have time to talk to a pretty girl.”

“Charlie, I’m not pretty and I’m older than you are, so I’m hardly a girl. I’m seventy-eight. I’ve still got six years on you. Anyway, I wanted to give you something, but it’s in my backpack at home. I only brought my purse today.” She bent down and kissed him.

Chuck said, “You see, this job I got isn’t so bad after all. You’d be surprised how many women kiss me throughout the day. Then of course in the warmer weather there’s the crazy lady. The one that picks up the cigarette butts and other trash off the sidewalk. I’ve always been nice to her. I can’t understand a word she says, but I nod my head, say, “That’s nice.” Whatever seems appropriate at the time. She doesn’t harm anybody, but  lots of people abuse her. She just wants to be listened to. If I’ve got extra change I’ll give it to her for a coffee and a donut.

Sometimes, she makes perfect sense.  She showed me her journal one day.  It was beautifully written, but it was all in French. I don’t speak French, so I don’t know if it made sense or not. Once came up to me and said. ‘If I ever decide to get married, I’ll choose you.’ Then she gave me a big kiss. I said, “Wait a minute, not so fast.”

“She has some mental problems. We all do. I certainly do. ”

I said, “I do, too, Chuck.”

“That reminds me of the time I applied for my disability pension. You wouldn’t believe the number of hoops you have to go through to get that. I’ve got a bad back. They wanted me to see a psychiatrist. I can’t figure that out. They said they had to make sure I was telling the truth. Okay, I agreed to see a psychiatrist. Actually, I’ve been on various occasions.  One time, I arrived at my appointment early. The psychiatrist said, ‘You’ll have to wait about ten minutes, my receptionist isn’t in yet. While your waiting I have some papers for you to fill out. It was all the standard stuff. Back then we didn’t have a health card, like we do now. I came to the part where I had to fill in my medical insurance number. It was a long number, but I remembered all the numbers, except for the last three. So, I pulled a paper out of my wallet and wrote down the rest of the number.  All the other numbers, like my driver’s licence, Social Insurance; I remembered all them. The psychiatrist asked me about the paper I pulled out of my wallet. I said, ‘I forgot the last three numbers for my medical insurance.’ He said, “You mean you had all the other numbers memorized?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, “Why are you here. You have a better memory than I have.’ I told him that I needed a signature for my disability insurance. He said, ‘Sure, I can do that for you. Apart from that your mind is as healthy as can be.’

“Another time, I was waiting for a psychiatrist appointment. He had his office door opened about two inches.  I was curious, so I peeked inside. He had a tourniquet around his upper arm and was shooting up. I told my worker about it. She said, ‘We know that he has diabetes.’ Well I know that you don’t need a tourniquet to inject insulin. It was probably heroin, or else he was a crack head.”

“I knew this woman one time. She was very pretty, a prostitute. Lots of guys wanted to marry her, but she held them off. Then this psychiatrist and her got married. I asked him about it. He said, ‘I want to write a book about life with a prostitute, so I married her.’ I asked, ‘What happens to her after you finish your book.’ He said, ‘I don’t know. I haven’t thought that far ahead.’

“Speaking of prostitutes, I get propositioned quite a few times while I’m sitting here.”

I said, “I expect that their out of your price range; are they?”

“No, they’re all on crack. I could get head for fifteen to twenty dollars, if I wanted it. I’d make sure I was wearing at least three condoms. You never know what diseases they’re carrying. There are a lot that hang around where I live. It’s a rough area. A guy was stabbed to death right in front of my building, just a few days ago. It was probably a drug deal gone bad.”

I asked, “How did you initially injure your back? Was it quite a while ago?”

“I’ve injured it a number of times. I blame a lot of it on my dad. He had a job as caretaker of a cemetery. At that time they used push mowers, not these gas or electric jobs that they use now. I was about eleven at the time. He’d mow around the tomb stones; I’d go around with the clippers and get the long strands beside the stones. There was this old stone we were working around. I was on my hands and knees at the back. He was mowing in front. I guess he hit the stone a little too hard and it toppled over on me, caught my leg between my knee and hip. He refused to take me to the doctor. I lay on the sofa for about three days, then he asked, “Are you ready to go back to work?” I said, “No I’m not ready to go back to work. My leg is fractured.

“When I was fifteen, I was playing high school football. I tackled this guy, my helmet dug into the dirt, my legs bent back over my head. I told my dad about it. He said, ‘Stop your whining. Suck it up and act like a man.’ I’ve also been in a car accident. I was thrown out against a rock.”

“My dad’s dead now, but If I ever got the chance to see him again I’d say to him, “It’s good to see you dad. I love you. Then I’d shoot him in the head.

Other people had stopped to drop Chuck change or folded bills. Others were patting Goldie, so I made my exit and waved to Chuck.

 

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Comments
  1. thesewordsiwrite2012 says:

    Interesting story.

    Like

  2. alghaumon says:

    As “per”, YOU have reached into life and, had him tell us another aspect of “US”. I just hope that some day there’ll be no pains, or homelessness to find.
    “D”

    Like

  3. One of your best.

    Like

  4. Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon says:

    I tell you, these friends are just some colorful folks. 🙂 They deserve our Kindness and respect.
    *Catherine* 🙂

    Like

  5. Sonnische says:

    Wow. Chuck’s a good guy, and that’s awful how neglected his health was growing up. Thank you for sharing his story and those of the others you blog about here. I’m a psychologist and my experience has taught me how early trauma can reverberate throughout the rest of one’s life. Please give Chuck my best.

    Like

    • Thanks Sonnische, I too experienced early trauma, it is only recently that I have overcome the effects. Many of my homeless friends have experienced a traumatic childhood. It has lead to alcoholism, addiction and low self esteem. I enjoyed your post “PRACTISING LISTENING WITH EMPATHY, BY THICH NHAT HANH”. ~ Dennis

      Like

  6. cwbybrick says:

    Followed & on my blog roll!

    Like

  7. As usual, Dennis, you paint a great picture of your experiences.

    Like

  8. I never get over the stories. So many stories….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. tt4r says:

    Life is ful of life, really. Thanks Dennis.

    Like

  10. susanddhavle says:

    Your kindness to give time, to humanize people who are just written off by society, is so great. I really have a lot of respect for your attitude.

    Like

    • Thank you so much. I gain as much from my friends on the street as they gain from me. To know them is to love them. I enjoyed your post “Song of Hiawatha”. ~ Dennis

      Like

  11. lorriebowden says:

    I feel like I was there and personally witnessed this conversation!!

    Like

  12. CousinRachel says:

    So glad Chuck found his tickets. You listen to his story and think ‘there are so many out there, some homeless like Chuck, others in prisons, others just walking around with all of this pain inside of them….maybe judging them for how they behave or what paths they’ve chosen – but how do we really know what another carries truly? What past? We don’t ,unless we are open enough, as you are Dennis, to being interested enough to find out and living the compassion and empathy you wish for the world.
    Thank you for that and thank you for the update.

    Like

    • Hi Cousin Rachel, thanks for your encouragement and support. It is much appreciated. I hope that in reading my stories, readers will open their hearts. By society’s standards these people may appear scary, but they deserve to be acknowledged. We have so much to gain and so little to lose through compassion. ~ Dennis

      Like

  13. Doug Shank says:

    Wow. Fascinating story and well written. I love your writing style. Very straightforward and eloquent. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • Hi Doug, thanks for your kind words. My writing style develops from the people I listen to. It’s them that deserve the credit. I enjoy your blog very much. It is honest, encourages forgiveness and love. We can’t go wrong with an attitude like that. ~ Dennis

      Like

  14. Amazing story. Chuck (and others whom you write about) are so viscerally real, alive, and present through your interactions and retellings here. Thank you for sharing their lives with us, Dennis. I think you’re making a difference. 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope I’m making a difference. I have made a lot of friends and, maybe, that’s enough. If people know they have someone to talk to, who will listen, it seems to add cheer to their lives. I enjoy reading your blog, especially your post “Share Your World: Week 10” where I learned more about you. ~ Dennis

      Like

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