Apr 11, 2010
Where was I ......?
It was a beautiful summer day. I hear this woman behind me going on and on about "You've got William F. Buckley's granddaughter. You can't have her. Give her back to me. Hey lady, give me that baby." I turn around to see who she's talking to and lo and behold it's me. I turned back around and kept walking. She caught up to me and was yelling in my face about how I had to give her William F. Buckley's granddaughter back. Miss Erica was crying and I was pretty scared since she wouldn't leave me alone no matter how much I ignored her.
Since there were no police in sight I ducked into a shoe store to ask one of the clerks to call the police. I was hoping Homeless Hannah wouldn't follow me into the store but she did. She's yelling by this point as I calmly try to explain to the clerk that this crazy lady won't leave me alone. He hesitated. Seriously. As if he couldn't decide who was telling the truth, me or the crazy lady in rags. After all, Miss Erica was balling and who was to say whose baby it was..... except of course that Hannah was claiming it was WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY'S GRANDDAUGHTER. I don't think he knew who WFB was because I thought that was clearly a point in my favor. Finally he decided to believe me (I think it was because I had more teeth than she did) and called the police. By the time they came Hannah was long gone.
The homeless guy in San Francisco was a much scarier encounter. It was my second trip there, probably around '92 or so. Business during the week and sightseeing on the weekend. My husband had flown out with me. We saw all the sights you see when touring SF. One night we were walking near Fisherman's Wharf but a little off the beaten path. We like to find little hole in the wall bars or restaurants whenever we visit a new city. We ended up on a street with not a lot of anything going on. No bars, restaurants or shops and only a few people here and there.
Down the street heading right for us is this scary looking homeless guy. What made him scary were two things. One, he was looking up and was trying to make eye contact with people. Most homeless people look down at the ground or stare off into space. Not this guy. He seemed to be saying "I dare you to look at me". The second scary thing about him was the baseball bat he was swinging around. He clearly was not coming from baseball practice. That bat was a weapon and he was not afraid to use it.
Jim can handle himself. At that time he had been studying Soo Bahk Do, a Korean martial art, for a number of years and had a black belt. Though he learned in his studies that it's best to avoid an encounter if you can. He calmly advised me that maybe we should cross the street. I'm not sure if that's what did it or the fact that I kept stealing glances at the guy. Either way, we were targeted. He crossed the street and put himself in our path again. This time we turned around and started walking. He started yelling at us as he followed us. I don't remember what he was saying exactly, mostly incoherent stuff. As he's gaining on us he is slamming the baseball into every inanimate object he comes across.... signs, parking meters, mailboxes. BANG.
I was very scared. I was pretty sure Jim could protect us but was worried he would get hurt in the process. In the end Jim decided to make a stand. He said "Stop walking and get behind me." As soon as we did that and Jim looked this guy straight in the eye, he sort of mumbled something, hit the nearest street sign with his bat, did an about face and left us alone.
Never had another encounter since then, at least not with a homeless person. There was the time I used a dryer at the laundromat and was informed by this crazy guy that I had used "his" dryer. Spittle flying from his mouth, red faced. I calmly moved my clothes to another dryer and he settled back into his chair and started rocking back and forth again. You just never know what will set somebody off. Sad , really, how many of the homeless are obviously suffering from untreated mental illnesses.