I’m a day late with this and I’m not sure why, but I thought I’d take advantage of that to write about last night’s Drop in. The numbers were down because the sidewalks here are too slippery for many folks.
T. Was one of the first to arrive. He loves to be helpful and I got him to set up the Wii game, later I beat him badly at golf (which doesn’t happen often).
Mi. Told me all about his week as I made gallons of coffee and tea. He will be getting a six month chip next week for being clean and sober that long. He asked me if I would like that chip. I am very honoured.
D. came. I hadn’t seen him for a long time. He is quite an angry guy with a reputation for violence, though he has never been violent around me. I asked if he wanted to play a game of crib with me. He said “I never play cards on the street!” I understood that it was a passtime he saved for when he was in jail or prison. Nevertheless he sat and watched and kibitzed. Mi. Told a story of how a guy in prison had whacked another guy over the head with a crib board once. D. Interjected, dryly, “That’s what they call crib death.” Before I knew it I had added “Yeah its ‘Sudden Inmate Death Syndrome”. D. Looked me in the eye and for one of the first times , it wasn’t in anger but seemed to convey the message “Well played! You get me”
Ma. for a whole variety of reasons has a terrible memory. A few weeks ago she asked me to teach her a joke. “Did you know you are built upside down? Your nose is running and your feet are smelling.” Last night I checked to see if she still remembered. After some thought ,she told it so proudly. Apparently she tells everyone. Next week I’ll have to teach her a new one!
P. came in. She had been in the hospital lately, with breathing problems. While she was in a ‘friend’ she had let stay at her place stole her cash and debit card. She had borrowed $100 from a loan shark to pay her rent and for the rest of the month she will be eating at soup kitchens. She said “That’s alright though because I don’t eat very much.”
G. came in. Last week I had taken her to the Emergency Ward because she was in so much distress. Last night she told me that, finally, next Wednesday she would see her doctor. If she doesn’t get help this time she says she doesn’t know what she will do. After saying that, she looked at me because we both knew that this was a veiled reference to suicide. G. Is the bravest person I know but we all have our breaking points. We prayed that she would get the help she needs.
So you see it was a slow night at Up Town Drop In. Now you know why I love it so.