Monday, February 23, 2004

There is no more invigorating way to kick off your morning than filing a police report, which I had to do on the dogs' and my daily morning walk, usually the highlight of our day. I was minding my own business listening to Howard Stern on my Walkman when I was assaulted verbally by a homeless man, who for some reason didn’t like the looks of us. I’m not sure what set him off, but he materialized out of the thick fog about 30 feet ahead of us and began to glare and spew a stream of malevolent and filthy threats at us. Most of his rant was unintelligible word salad but I got the gist pretty quickly: he wanted to do us bodily harm. I immediately turned around and he started to follow us but a group of joggers came by and whatever tiny remnant of reason left in his destroyed brain thought better of continuing his hostile oration and whatever else he had planned at a closer range. He then stalked up toward Fisherman’s Wharf, I’m sure to go on to traumatize some unfortunate tourists, and then probably on to my branch. I hope the worst he will do is give them a good tale to bring back home to Des Moines.

I certainly didn’t take it personally and have become inured to raving street people, but this one seemed special so I thought I better at least start a paper trail on him. The gardeners and park police hadn’t seen him before either so he’s seems to be a new transient. The park police were going to go question the usual gang of homeless that hang out in the park down by the water to see if they know anything about him. That regular group of homeless does a fairly good job of policing themselves and cooperating with the authorities as best they can. They do quite well for themselves begging money from tourists and they know that it is in their strong interest to do whatever they can to prevent a crackdown.

Speaking of transients: It seems that no one (meaning my readers, certainly not the police and the local neighborhood merchants) can get enough of local homeless minx Loretta. I’m sorry to report that she has injured herself yet again and is now hobbling around on crutches, which can't be easy loaded. She is really milking it and has her retinue of admirers waiting on her hand and foot and escorting her tenderly as she weaves through the neighborhood in this theatrically pathetic way. I watched her hold up traffic in a crosswalk as she took about 5 minutes to make her way across, oblivious to (or deriving spiteful satisfaction from) the fury of all of the drivers she was holding up at their green light. This morning I spotted what I thought was a purple Tam o’Shanter, Loretta’s signature hat, in the crowd waiting outside the door for the library to open, but instead it was some other woman with a taste for purple headgear. I will be on the lookout for her and be sure to keep the Loretta tales coming.

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