Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm OK, You're OK?

"Are you OK?" That was the question one of my fellow citizens directed towards me on the Tuesday night of this week. Generally, that simple question, one that we get asked numerous times in our lives, would not be worthy of commenting upon, but as with most things with me lately it is all about context.

That context is the reason that the question was, for me at least, another low point in my life (seems I have having a lot of low points recently). Tuesday was the night before a legal conference, which I was required to attend, began in my fine city. In other words, I didn't have to go to work the next day, but I did have to attend the conference, since the conference's start time was about 2 hours later than I generally get to work, then I figured I might have a few drinks with some buddies.

That day's drinking began a bit earlier than usual, and it was the first day of a week that has seen me eat, drink, and be merry like a Roman emperor. I figure I have gained 6 pounds this week, so next week, I will be eating like a Roman slave, but at least this week has been entertaining. The drinking was going as planned, and it was looking like another night that would find me bleary eyed the next morning. However, as with most of the plans that I am involved in, things went a bit off script rather quickly. A change of my drinking plans ensued (I asked a question I didn't know the answer to, and my drinking was curtained, serves me right).

The new plan entailed me not drinking like my ship was sinking, and I had to drink all the rum before it was too late, and sobriety began to rear its ugly head. That being said, I am not sure my next career move was a product of my residual buzz, or just extremely poor judgment. Either way it was a piss poor decision, and I was duly punished for it. It is a long story, and isn't worth getting to deep into right now, but it would soon provide me the reason for the above quoted question. Keep it mind, the is TUESDAY! Not generally a day that finds you facing the kinds of life tragedies that make you feel like you need a Greek chorus following you around to help narrate your life.

Again, I was foolish enough to ask a (very lengthy , and important) question that I did not know the answer to, and I was, once again, duly punished. It was this punishment, and my resulting reaction to it, that sent me reeling down the street in one direction while the person delivering the blow walked calmly off in the other direction. I decided that taking one of the convenient seats provided for citizens of my fair city by the city fathers, would be a good idea. A few moments of calm reflection were clearly going to be needed, and I also had to find some sort of cash dispensing machine, because my car was in 'hock' to a parking garage.

As I sat there wondering where that cash was going to be obtained, and feeling a bit like Lupus from 'The Bad News Bears,' a fellow citizen decided that it was imperative to speak to me. Of course, it was my own fault, it was 10 p.m. on a Tuesday in downtown shit city, and I was just begging to be panhandled. In retrospect, I guess I am lucky that I wasn't swarmed by panhandlers like a sugar cube in an ant farm. The one 'bum' that did manage to get his 'handle' on asked me for a cigarette, and wasn't even upset when I informed him of the bad news, that I am a non-smoker. To my surprise he merely thanked me and turned away to try his luck elsewhere. Well, clearly my demeanor must have been awful, because he stopped turned back around, and asked me with dead seriousness in his voice "Are you OK?" I am sure the shock was evident on my face as I replied 'I'm fine thanks.'

Which bring me to the eventual point of this post. The fellow was nice enough, and just because he is what is commonly called a 'bum' he was still human enough to notice that a fellow human seemed to be having a bit of a rough moment. Which was true, but I was unaware that I was so obvious about it. However, while I have grown to appreciate his humanity, it was still a low point in my life. If I look so bad that bums are asking me if I am OK, then my life has clearly taken a wrong turn. It certainly changed the focus of my calm reflection, and perhaps that it something I should be thankful for, it became much more focused on the whole of my situation rather than merely the disastrous episode that had just occurred.

I suppose that is the thing to be thankful for, a polite 'bum' that is willing to take the time to find out if maybe the fellow he just tried to cage a ciggy off of, was going to be a bridge jumper. Maybe he didn't want that on his conscious, or maybe he thought that if he asked, I would find some forgotten cigarette, or some cash for him ( I didn't so unlucky for him), or maybe he just thought that a bit of humanity was called for. I didn't have the heart to tell him 'I am far, far, from fucking OK.' That was the closest to humanity I could come, and I hope he appreciated it.

No comments: