I go out for my 9:30AM interview. To date I have used a fictitious name and location for the individual I have been in contact with. My writing has been focused on our interactions and my thoughts and feelings about the experience. He has given permission, as a matter of fact he suggested, that I now write about the life journey that brought him to the street corner upon which he calls home. I am NOT psyched to sit on a crate. I have major concerns about all the itching I have observed.
I leave my apartment, get the cash I am going to pay him for the interview, and 3 blocks shy of his corner I see him standing upright talking to someone. He barefoot in his usual pale green t-shirt and grey sweats but the sweats have a big wet spot on them in the worst place. He has blood all over his shirt and his beard. His lip is swollen and bleeding. The man is waiting there with him for the police. I ask if he is alright, what happened? He recounts the last 15 minutes- that he went to a different news agent to buy his daily paper and there was a skirmish- the manager and security guard asked him to leave and he was attacked and punched in the face. He is waiting for the police to come and the man there with him witness part of the skirmish so is going to give a statement. I go off and bring him an $8 ice pack and some wipes. Upon return, the police are there and they check in with me, quickly getting I am not a witness- just a friendly face who checks in on him. They tell me it hasn't been his week referring to the last beating when he got his black eye.
I consider Tim and feel like his multiplicity of place he occupies on the triangle (refer to previous post on Maslow) seems to get him in trouble a bit. He is smart and knows the law to the T so demanded the name of the guard and recited his rights. He knows the guard is licensed and will lose his license for any incident. I suggest we do the interview another day as he recovers from the punch but I see him back to his perch and make sure he is ok. Three others check in with him on the way back. People know him and are mortified that he as been brutalized. It feels like Tim is the cousin that came to live on the couch and never left- the city cares for him, looks in on him. A local stops by and gives him $5 asking if he needs to go to the hospital and he explains he refused care that he will be fine, will just have to go clean up, after he had already cleaned up for his interview (probably the wet on the pants). He points to me and jokes I am from the city of brotherly love and goes on to torment me further in front of some of his local peeps with statistics comparing lawyers and prisoners. It is all in good fun today. I ask if here is anything I can do and if he has eaten and has enough water. He feels like he will be ok, but admittedly this isn't his best day. The 5pm hour will be the worse when the sun lowers and peaks in under the roof. He refers to the vegetation behind him and remarks how he has been clever to locate near oxygen. His good humor takes over and I see his nerves steady quickly considering it is the second physical trauma he has experienced in 2 weeks. As I leave I notice the 2nd crate perched beside him filled with things and topped off with a pillow. It's my perch, waiting for me tomorrow. The dust mites we battled and encased in tombs in our room were trauma enough for this germ-a-phobe. How in the hell am I going to sit on that?