13 February 2017
When I first saw Ted he was engrossed, reading a newspaper. “Good morning, Ted. When I was talking to you last you mentioned that your worker was going to arrange for you to see a doctor. Did that come about?”
“Actually I was offered an appointment, but I declined. I know I should go. I’m even having trouble walking. Sometimes my right leg will just stop. I’ll yell at it and say, ‘Get moving you fucker!’, but nothing happens. People probably think I’m crazy. I’ve got no control over it. Eventually the nerves kick in and I can will it to move forward. I think that’s a symptom of kidney problems. I’m also peeing dark, another kidney symptom. I’ve been on dialysis before. I don’t want to go through that again. The doctor is going to tell me to stop drinking and I can. I just don’t want to do it right now. Then there’s my bipolar medication. I’m a mess without that.
A man stopped by and said, “Ted, where’s your hat. You should be wearing it. You haven’t lost it have you?”
“No, I haven’t lost it. It’s in my bag. I’ll put it on later.” To me he said, “Have you seen that guy around? He finds a place on some corner somewhere and knits. He’s always knitting: socks, scarves mitts. They’re really warm.
“Yesterday was good. I collected $70.00, then spent $50.00 on booze. I was really drunk. I could barely walk I’m paying for it now. I’ve got a beast of a headache. The bright sun isn’t helping either.
“Last night I was panning in front of a Mexican restaurant. Everybody was handing me boxes of half eaten burritos. I was so stuffed I could barely get up. When you’re on the street you don’t turn down anything. If it’s something I don’t need, I know that I’ll run into someone who does. I put two boxes in my backpack. One I opened last night when I got home. The other I had for breakfast.
“I’ve been reading a book by this guy, I don’t remember his name. I just have to keep turning pages. Even when I’m with my friends I’ll be over in a corner reading.
“The weekend should be great. There will be lots of visitors downtown for the end of Winterlude. They’ll be in a good mood, the weather will be mild. I may stay here or go up to the mall.”
“I’ve been talking to some of my friends. They said it issn’t good to have conversations with people while you’re panning. People who otherwise might make a drop, will pass right by.”
“Well Ted, I’ll let you get back to work.”
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