Wednesday, June 22, 2011

There is this man who posts up outside of a Mexican restaurant, which is less than a block away from my house. He walks with a cane, he wears a Santa Claus hat year 'round, and he always has a cup in front of him asking for money. I used to think he was homeless, but then I found out that some guy nearby was allowing Santa Claus to stay in his house--but he definitely does not have a job because he spends all day peddling for money. Santa Claus has a great personality despite his handicap and jobless status, and this is why people always felt moved to give him what they had.

One day I was in the liquor store buying a fine bottle of wine, and the subject of Santa Claus came up with the owner. The owner mentioned that each and every day around 7 or 7:30, Santa Claus would take all of his earnings and buy liquor that was not cheap. He wouldn't buy food, because restaurants in the area would let him eat on the house, so that freed him up to get as drunk as wanted to get every day. Given that I had dropped many-a-dime in Santa Claus' cup, I had mixed feelings about hearing this information. On one hand, I don't know how it feels to be slightly handicapped and unemployed for at least 6 years (which is how long I've been seeing this guy on the street). Maybe I would be drinking heavily every day too. But on the other hand, it can't be good to drink hard liquor everyday and basically do nothing else. I was torn, and eventually I stopped giving him money on a consistent basis. I still stopped and spoke to the brother every day, and we had conversations on money, women, food, etc..

One day the wife and I were coming back from somewhere and we saw Santa Claus and his wife/girlfriend arguing in the middle of the street. He called her all kinds of bitches, hoes, mfs, and it didn't matter who saw or who heard--including my wife and me. In the next few weeks after that incident, Santa Claus didn't really speak to me or look me in the eye, because I guess he felt ashamed. I still gave him money periodically, but the combination of the alcohol and the undressing of this woman, just made me feel uneasy about breaking him off with change. I know this sounds awfully judgemental of me, but hey I never said I wasn't deeply flawed. Plus I still spoke to the brother each and every day..not to mention there were other people who did not know of liquor habit who gave him PLENTY of money daily. And I mean plenty..

This morning I was walking by Santa Claus' area, and I saw a sign that said, "In Memoriam for Travis", and there was a floral arrangement right under it. I never knew his real name, so I called my wife to see if she knew if Santa Claus was Travis, and she said that he was. After we hung up the phone, my heart sank a little bit, and I pulled out my phone to take a picture of the sign and the arrangement, and then I thought better of it and put my phone away. I felt like that was a bit disrespectful, so I just looked at the shrine a bit longer and walked off. I won't romanticize my relationship with this dude, but I kind of got used to seeing Travis every day--whether he was drinking, cursing out women or humoring me in a bit of banter--so seeing that he's dead now is a memory that won't easily go away.

I have no bow to tie on the end of this entry, I'm just typing out feelings..

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