The place where I’m crashing this week is a long walk from anything, and I ran out of smokes last night, so this morning (more accurately, this noon) when I woke up, first order of business was to get my bipolar ass to a market of some kind, put things in my mouth, and set them on fire.
Said market is in a neighborhood with several nursing homes and old-age retirement places—my grandmother used to live in one of them. So when I opened the pack and looked for a place to sit—I was fucking exhausted after walking for 30 minutes—I wasn’t too surprised to have to sit next to an older guy, sitting on the same bench, next to his motorized wheelchair. He was smoking, the other benches were occupied by people who weren’t, so I had to sit there so as not to be an asshole.
I’ll try to transcribe the conversation.
Him: Hey. You look like that guy, are you that guy?
Me: No, probably not.
Him: Frankie Valli. That’s it, you’re Frankie Valli.
Me: No. [This is a new one. Usually I’m told I look like Robert Downey Jr. This started after his drug bust photos were published, and stopped when Iron Man came out.]
Him: [sings tunelessly for a little while]
Me: [puts headphones back on, doesn’t turn them on just yet]
Him: [reaches over to shake hands] I’ve seen you around a lot. Like, from a few years ago. I see you around all the time.
Me: No, I’m rarely here. [I.e., I stay near here irregularly, and I very rarely sit outside the market. I shake his hand.]
Him: Hey, you want a beer?
Me: No, thanks, I’m good. [It’s noon. I rarely drink.]
Him: Hey, are you a creator?
Me: A what?
Him: You look like you’re a creator to me. You’re a creator, aren’t you?
Me: I’m a writer.
Him: No, you’re a creator. Man, why would you do that? Why would you do that to me?
Him: [touches the back of his head] You’re coming here and creating this pain in the back of my lobe, the back of my right lobe, man, why would you do that to me? Putting all that stuff in there, you’re putting all that stuff in there. I’m just this guy, a small guy, just sitting here, and you come along and….
Me: [protest briefly, then get up and go to another bench. He’s yelling that behind me as I walk away.]
I’ve been telling friends that if I get myself into a residential or inpatient program without money or insurance, the biggest problem is that I’m going to be surrounded by sick people. They think I’m making excuses for why I don’t want to get help. Me, I just don’t want to have my only human contact be people like this, in a situation where I can’t get up and walk away.