Ever so often my dad would write a column tagged “JUST RAMBLING”, bits and pieces of off-beat facts and observations and tidbits, a little this, a little that …
Hence, today, “JUST RAMBLING:
To save money, when I had a little, I had a routine in Nashville. I would walk downtown to the Marriott, pour myself a free cup of hospitality coffee, and put a free hospitality orange or two in my pocket.
One morning I’m standing on a corner by the Marriott, peeling an orange, in my own little world (my friend calls me The Man Who Isn’t There; inside my head I’m always writing), when it dons on me that the street is jam-packed with bystanders gathered around watching a bench being hosed down.
I asked a cop what was up, and he told me somebody had put a couple of bullets into the body of a homeless man sleeping there.
A few days later a homeless man sleeping in a dumpster was found burned alive. Someone or three had poured kerosene on him and lite a match.
I googled “homeless” “murders” a couple of months ago and found a website–can’t remember what it’s called–listing murder after murder, day after day, of homeless people all over the country. With pics! It doesn’t make the nightly news. Cable is all commentary now, little news. They don’t want to upset the viewing public, I guess …
When I was in Austin, there was a story in the local paper about the many people who would back up their pick-ups and dump their trash into Lake Lady Bird.
I don’t get it.
I stayed a month in Jamaica Beach, down the road from Galveston, by a canal. I’d be sitting on the porch and every so often someone in a pick-up would back up and–you guessed it–dump his/her trash into the canal.
I don’t get it.
In Nashville, this past September, when classes first started at Vanderbilt, I’m walking down the street and a young college kid with a beer in his hand, chugs the contents and tosses the empty on the sidewalk before walking into a bar. He was two feet from the door. He could have just as easily put it in the trash inside.
I don’t get it.
But bless their kind!
The first day I was homeless, I’m walking down the street in front of Embassy Suites when I happened to look down and see a discarded room key-card on the ground.
Thank you, thank you. Bless you, bless you.
From that moment on, I ate very well. Eggs and ham and bacon, hash browns, coffee and cream, orange and tomato juice, fresh fruit …
At night I would go to the free cocktail hour for a couple of V.O.’s-and-water. The first few days the bartender on duty would ask me if I was a guest and I’d show my key-card. But, after a week or two, the bartenders simply poured me drinks.
Funny. It’s a cognitive thing. The more they saw me, the more important and successful th thought I was. Only a big music exec with a large expense account could afford to stay at Embassy Suites that long.
I was dressed well. A blue sport coat, pressed shirt and slacks, polished shoes, neatly-trimmed hair.
Then reality sets in. The shoes start to show their wear and tear. Your shirt and pants begin to wrinkle. Your hair grows and starts to look unkept, and, well …
To be continued.
Tomorrow, the night I was awakened by the police, hands on holsters …