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My Experience With The Homeless Man May 13, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Crazy Magnet.
Tags: , , ,

Ugly truth: I’ve never been fond of the homeless.  Trust me, logically, I have a lot of sympathy for them.  Many of the people who are homeless are suffering from mental instability that they either a) cannot afford treatment for or b) don’t even realize they have.  It breaks my heart to read statistics about homeless veterans, and I really am compassionate to their plight.

The thing is, they still freak me out.  I have yet to have any really decent experiences with the homeless.  This might have everything to do with my crazy-magnet: I probably only attract the super-unstable homeless people.  If I hadn’t been so harrassed by crazies, perhaps I’d be less panicky about dealing with them.  Instead, my heart races, I get a little light headed, I pray fervently, and try to get away from them just as quickly as possible.

Last week I had my most recent run-in with a crazy homeless person.  It was a nice evening, so John and I had gone for a walk.  We’d started about 45 minutes before sunset, so we weren’t able to go very far.  We had just turned around to head back to our house when a man approached us from across the street.  He looked fine enough; he was carrying a backpack and a Starbucks coffee.  He looked tan, like maybe he had a day laborer position or something, so initially I didn’t think much of him.  He stopped us and asked us where the Fayetteville Athletic Club was.  We pointed him in the right direction and he started off.

Not ten steps later, he turned around and looked at us and asked us if we were Christians.

I could have thrown up right then.  It has been my experience that when someone asks you that question, no good really comes of it.  They either spend an hour trying to fight you down off of your beliefs or they try and wheedle you out of money, etc.  This guy looked more like the latter than the former, so I grabbed John’s hand a little tighter to try and get him to answer the question and keep walking.

He doesn’t, of course, and this homeless man launches into this huge story about how he walked into a church earlier that day and the congregation did nothing but take him to Chick-Fil-A for a meal.  Then he goes on and on about how he was really Christian and then fell on hard times because, get this–both his mother and sister are institutionalized for mental disorders.  Right then I was ready to get the heck out of there.

So by this point, John and I have gotten to our “turn off” to go back to our apartment, and he’s been talking to us for 30 minutes.  Since he’s been FOLLOWING us so far, I’m afraid to turn down our street in case he follows us there, too.  I really, really cannot emphasize how creepy this guy is.  He obviously knows his Bible, but he’s so pushy…he keeps sort of preaching on how Christians should take each other into their homes to care for one another.  So, of course, he eventually asks if he can take a shower at our house.  I shout “no” so loudly that it startles both John and the homeless man (who has refused to give us his name, because he’s rejected his other name in favor of a new name that Jesus will give him.  Ooookay).  Instead, John gives the homeless guy his watch to get him to a) wait for us and b) as a guarantee that we will come back for him.

We hustle back to our apartment to grab the Vibe.  John has already called our pastor and is asking for advice, and I’m of the opinion that we don’t need to go back for him.  Against my better judgement, I fix the guy a sandwich and we pile in the Vibe.  I opt for the back seat just in case this guy starts acting funny or something (I grabbed the hunting knife out of my truck just in case).  I’m not sure what I would have done if the guy had pulled a gun or something, but I’m relatively sure it wouldn’t have been legal or pretty.

Anyway, as we head towards the Athletic Center this guy starts getting more and more aggravated.  He starts talking about how Christianity is a prison and asking us, pointedly and angrily, why we won’t let him go to our house to take a shower.  He’s starting to get more and more agitated at this point, which is making me more and more nervous.  I have a death grip on the handle of the knife, certain I’m going to have to stab a man before this thing is all over.

John pulls into the parking lot of the gym as quickly as possible.  The guy gets out, leaving his stuff in the car, complaining about how he doesn’t think they’ll let him in.  John grabs it and hands it to him, just as I was about to get out of the car and toss it out in the parking lot.  Thank goodness–the guy just took his stuff (along with John’s watch) and left.  I’ve never been so relieved in my whole life.  I’m still a little scared of running into this guy somewhere on the street and having him harass me again.  I know it’s unfounded, but still.

I’m just not fond of the homeless.