Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Around 11:00am this morning, I was on Calhoun Street en route to the physical plant to drop off a form for a sorority function. I was minding my own business, focused on my task, when a man in a Florida Gators cap who was "playing" with his shoelaces said, "Hey, Cutie." I could feel my mouth open, ready to say hello, my automatic response, but my mouth hung open in an "o" for literally a second. I didn't know what to say! So I kept walking and delivered the form to its intended destination.

I was on Calhoun going back to my dorm and I thought the man had gone away. However, he was merely blending into the concrete steps that he occupied. He surprised me: "Excuse me, I don't mean to bother [you], but do you have a dollar or two?" I told him that I didn't have my wallet with me. "Do you know why I'm lacing my shoelaces? I just got out of jail, see...," and he pulled out a white, folded piece of paper from his back pocket. It was a list of all of his personal belongings that he had to give up during his jail stay and which he got back at his release. His belongings were mostly basic clothing items, one of them a blue cap (the Gators cap). Another sheet said he had been present in court yesterday. I told him that if I did have my wallet, I would have given him something.

The man told me that he was diabetic, so I asked him if he could get medical care from the state, though I was wondering if free care is provided to the convicted. He said he just moved back [to this state?] and did not have a state ID, but that he was aware that he needed one. I hope that he does get the ID and the paperwork and the care he needs, because he did not seem to be in suitable health; his movements were abnormal (he was not under the influence of alcohol) and he did not seem to have anywhere to go or any purpose in mind.

After he put the papers away, I asked him about his hand-held poker device. "You ever play?" he asked. "Yeah," and I picked it up and played a hand, got a pair of kings, and gave it back to him. "I'll give it to you for $2," he said, but I reminded him that I didn't have money. I wished him good luck, smiled and said goodbye.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Advise you be careful in your travels...