I can quit drinking…

 

 

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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Refugees

 

 

6 February 2017

“Good morning, Ted.”

“Hey, Dennis, I guess you heard about Trumps fights with the courts. He must be pissed. I don’t know why they don’t just let him do his job and see what happens. I can see where he’s coming from. He was born rich, everything he ever wanted was provided for him. They had servants. In business he was always the boss, so if anybody did anything he didn’t like he’d fire them. He’s not used to taking orders. I know, he’s a womanizer. Hell, I’ve been that myself a few times. As far as the refugees are concerned, I don’t want them coming here taking our jobs.”

“Ted, you don’t have a job. Nobody will be taking anything away from you.”

“Well, I know that, but they’ll be covered under our health care. We’ll be paying for their housing.”

“Isn’t that the situation that you’re in now? Have you had a chance to see a doctor about your medication?”

“The woman that you saw me with the other day, the chubby one, is my worker. She’s going to get everything sorted out. I should see a doctor soon because I’ve been having a pain in my lung. I think it may be pneumonia. Do you know anything about that?”

I said, “I’ve had pneumonia. You’ll need antibiotics. It’s very serious.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard that you can die from it.

“I guess Trudeau will be meeting with Trump next week. I wonder how that will go. His father was tough, but Justin may be too polite. He is a boxer, I hope he doesn’t take any shit from Trump. The US is our biggest trading partner. Anything Trump does affects Canada.”

“I hope it goes well, otherwise he may build a wall and have us pay for it.”

 



 
 
 
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Superbowl Weekend

 

 

2 February 2017

“Good morning, Ted. How are you feeling? Better than the last time I saw you?”

“Yeah, I had a good weekend. The mayor’s pancake breakfast for the homeless was this morning. I ate until I was stuffed. I think the breakfast has to do with the fact that he’s planning to close one of the shelters.”

“Did you have a chance to see a doctor about your medications?”

“No, but my worker is coming by today with some vouchers. I’ll ask if she can take me to the hospital to get a new prescription. I really need those meds.

“Did you watch the Superbowl? I just caught the last quarter. Here’s what they said about it in the newspaper:”

“The Falcons got the ball back but couldn’t move the ball down the field, and for the first time in history, the Super Bowl went to overtime. The Patriots won the toss, elected to receive and the Patriots offense—suddenly unstoppable—was a touchdown away from securing a fifth Super Bowl title.

Brady was on fire. He painted a 14-yard throw to Amendola and an 18-yard throw to Chris Hogan. He found Edelman for 15 yards. A well-designed screen to White got 10 more. A pass interference call put the Patriots at the 2-yard line.

From there, White ended the game, ended any debate about Brady’s legacy as the greatest quarterback in NFL history and ended the contentious and controversial Deflategate season:

What more can you say about Brady? Five titles. Orchestrating the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, and one of the most astonishing comebacks in NFL history. Doing it all at age 39, and in a season highlighted by a four-game suspension he fought, tooth and nail.

In the end, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had to hand the Vince Lombardi Trophy over to the Patriots.

It’s not enough to just win for Brady and these Patriots. They have to win in style and earn a bit of vengeance in the process. Tip your cap, America: You just witnessed greatness.

Again.”

“I’ve got a couple of cards for Starbucks. I hate to go there. People spending $5.00 for a coffee; that’s just wrong. Sometimes I go in just to pretend that I’m a big shot who doesn’t have to worry about how much money he spends.

“I haven’t had a drink since the weekend. I have to quit. I’m serious, my liver is in bad condition. Maybe I will once I get my medication. Right now I just don’t give a shit.

“I’ve had a couple of good drops today, so I’m going to get out of the cold and have a bagel with cream cheese.”

 



 
 
 
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Getting Emotional

 

 
2 February 2017

“Good morning, Ted, I haven’t seen you for a while.”

“Hi, Dennis, I haven’t been so good lately. I’ve been sick. I phoned my mother. I got all emotional and had to hang up on her. When I got myself together I phoned back and got shit for hanging up. I’ve got to see a doctor about my medication. I told you that she has a big house. She wanted me to visit her. I said, ‘Mom, I don’t have $50.00 to take a taxi. There are no busses that go there.’ She paid for the cab when it arrived. I was pissed off at my brother, he arranged to have a plow clear her driveway, but the lazy ass didn’t clear the sidewalk or the steps. I said, ‘Mom, if the snow isn’t cleared and there’s no light on, thieves will think that the house is vacant and will rob you.’ She complained about the cost of electricity, but agreed to leave a light turned on. There’s no problem with mail piling up because they have a community mailbox.”

I said, “Your mom is in her 80’s isn’t she?”

“She’s 83, but looks about 60. She’s had lifts, nips and tucks. I can see the scars around her ears. I’m worried though, because she doesn’t have the same vitality she had before.

“She owns several apartment buildings. I told her about my eviction notice, so she’s going to have an apartment cleared for me. I don’t know how I feel about that. She has to give the present tenants 90 days notice, but since the apartment is going to a family member there won’t be any legal problems.

“I got a TV. I went to a pawn shop and bought a 19 inch flat screen for $39.00. The one I really wanted was a 36 inch for $130.00, but it didn’t have a remote. What good is that? I don’t want to be getting up every few minutes to change the channel.”

“I agree, if you’re watching television you want to relax.”

Ted reached into his backpack and pulled out a gift box with Italian Panettone printed on it. He said, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this. Do I cook it?”

“No, it’s already cooked. I’m sure you’ll like it.”

“I’m not so sure. Do you want it?”

“Sure, I’ll take it.”



 
 
 
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