I almost got arrested tonight. Not because I started something, but because I wanted to finish something, and in the doing of that, a man might have died.
So it appears I am a crazy magnet.
Crazy homeless see me and they think I'm a ride at an amusement park.
Salt Lake City is a Stepford paradise unless you look really close. The downtown area is one of the most beautiful downtowns you'll find but it has a lot of homeless. Not just any homeless mind you, but the crazy homeless.
Take the guy last night. He was tweeking in front of us, ranging back and forth across the wide sidewalk. We get to an intersection and the light is red. The man is shorter than me, older than me, but wears his hair long, and dresses like a teenager. He punches the button to summon the walk signal once twice. Then he curses. He turns around and stares me in the eyes. I'm four feet away from him. He's staring not into my face, but directly into my eyes. I meet his gaze and make the crazy connection. Then be begins to hammer the button over and over and over again, maybe fifty times. I break the gaze and slowly turn to see the cross street counting down and know it's almost over. Then the light
changes. The crazy nods, then turns, then ranges into the sunset.
I was with two other people? Why'd he decide to stare at me? What is it about me that attracts crazies?
Fast forward to tonight.
There's now four of us.
We walk three blocks to a PF Changs to eat. The first crazy we encounter is a guy we see from far away. He turns to look at us. When he does, I shake my head gently. He sees me then turns away and shakes his head savagely. Then he begins talking almost like he's on bluetooth. But the only bluetooth he's attached to are to the voices in his head. He talks about needing women and beer in astronomical quantities as we pass.
I'm on guard. I'm ready. Especially as he begins to follow us.
You see, I have three bosses with me. My boss, my bosses boss, and my bosses bosses boss, who's a general officer. I need to make sure nothing bad will happen.
Lucky for us, we walk fast, he gets sidetracked, and we get away.
Then we reach Broadway.
I see him.
We all see him.
Where the hell are the cops? One of my companions has made the observation that in three days we haven't seen a single cop car. Seriously?
This guy sees me then sees my friends and locks his tractor beam of craziness on us.
He walks up and says "Mind if I bother you?"
I say "Yes. Please go away."
But undeterred, he paces us and says, "Did you know that during World War II 75% of Polish people crazytalk crazytalk crazytalk crazytalk crazytalk--"
My boss shouts, "He said to go away. Why don't you leave us the fuck alone?"
Crazy smiles. He walks closer to us. Then he pats me on the shoulder, only it wasn't a pat. It was a slap. It was a strike. It was a fucking crazy person hitting me. Me! Seriously?
I take three steps as I process it and then spin, fuming.
He's already backing away and shouts, "You Polish bitches!"
I grab my phone and dial 911 because I know I want to hit the crazy. I take a step towards him and he jumps back several feet. He calls me a "crazytalk crazytalk crazytalk crazytalk Polish Bitch," again. Turns out I didn't dial 911, I instead messed up my code to unlock my phone. I begin to dial it again, then look at him. For a second I'm back in Afghanistan and he's about to die. Then I hear one of my mates yell, "Come on, let's go."
I thought about calling 911, but then I think about what a pain in the ass it will be. Once I tell the cop he touched me, it's now an assault case.
I let it go.
As I sat there in PF Changs, I fume for a bit.
I hate being touched.
What had been a great few days in SLC is ruined by the crazies.
I tell my mates I was going back outside.
They dissuade me.
I'm glad they do.
I'm a civilized guy. I'm not a crazy. I wasn't going to be sucked in.
Thankfully I didn't add to it.
Thus is my life.