Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Drunk AND Cranky

Every night is different.

About the time I think I've seen it all in 20 years of going out on the street, then something new and weird happens.

Thursday night Father Kim and were making our usual rounds. We were having a good time with the regulars at one of our favorite stops. (I can't say where we were this time; we're going back there next week and I don't want more guff from anyone.)

Anyway, "George" was really drunk, sitting two barstools away from me. I'm having a nice conversation with Cat Lady (see archive August 19, 2004) about public housing.

Almost every interaction I have with George has been unhappy -- he's always working too hard trying to figure out what we're doing there, and he's angry with the world anyway, so the anger gets directed to me. I tend to just tune him out because he's talking BLEEP and being totally inappropriate. Probably needs to be cut off, but the owner/bartender is overserving everyone anyway -- how a drunk can decide when another drunk has had enough is beyond me.

So I'm having this nice conversation and George starts in on me about why I'm not out saving homeless people -- ordering me to go to City Hall Park where all the homeless people hang at night, putting us down for hanging out for an hour at his bar, getting really loud.

I had enough. I told him we go to his bar because that's where the people who end up at City Hall Park start out their drinking careers; as to wasting our time, I asked him why he wasn't out selling real estate, since that's what he does for a living. He shut up for awhile.

Then he came over and talked with Father Kim. "I like his church, I don't like yours," he stated. I said it's okay, because he goes to both our churches equally, meaning never. Then he gave a big sloppy drunken hug to Father Kim.

When we left Father Kim quietly observed that the guy was mad at himself for not dealing with his drinking. If we can irritate him enough, maybe something will change. I'll keep bugging him.


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