That’s right, friends—it’s time for a third installment of the Inappropriate Behavior series. I’ve talked about bad driving, I’ve talked about misguided anger, and now it’s time to discuss personal boundaries. I’d like to one day pontificate on all of the vast and varied ways in which people seem to disregard the physical and mental space of others, but for now I’m going to aim my focus on the homeless community of Seattle and their disregard for my personal space.
Some of you may not yet know this about me, but I appear to be what my friends and I like to call a little bit of a shit magnet. Now, this seemingly preternatural magnetism of all-things-shit affects me in a variety of ways, some comical and others less so. One consistent confirmation of this very specific allure I possess is that homeless people can’t seem to get enough of me; I can’t say what the fascination is, but if there’s a bum nearby, chances are that he has something he needs to tell me right now.
Back when I first moved into the city proper of Seattle back in 2004, I lived in a teeny, tiny shoebox of an apartment in a building regally-named “The Queensborough” in Lower Queen Ann, at 1st and Roy. I worked downtown in those days and so would walk through lower Queen Ann and Seattle Center in order to take the Monorail (the original, old-school section—not the newfangled lightrail), which dropped me off across the street from Nordstrom. Walking this route on a daily basis, I inevitably encountered quite a lot of characters along the way. And I would say that living in the city in general ensures that at one time or another, or at many different times, you will be accosted in some way by a person of the crazypants persuasion. It happens to me all the time. Walking down my block in Queen Ann one morning, I passed a homeless guy who turned to me in passing and said with the most whisky-saturated breath I’ve ever experienced, “You’re prrrrrrettttyy cute.” To which I replied, “Well thank you very much.” Ah, the good old days.
When I later moved to Eastlake, I lived on the ground floor of a 1906 Spanish building. One morning, I woke up and went to my windows to pull up my blinds and let the sunshine in but upon pulling up the blinds what I saw instead of the sunshine was a homeless man, holding his wenis, peeing onto my window screen. Naturally, I shouted and jumped backwards, which was when he waved at me with his free hand and smiled like nothing was out of the ordinary about the situation.
Back in December I moved into my current home in the Magnolia neighborhood, which is known for being fairly quiet and residential. I took Mona out for a walk one night in the cold winter freeze that we so rarely have here in Seattle and that I so enthusiastically love. Two blocks from my house, Mona and I crossed paths with an older guy who was very clearly wasted, and also very clearly enamored with Mona. The conversation went as follows:
Homeless guy: Evenin’
Homeless guy: Do you want to make out with me?
Me: Excuse me?
Homeless guy: Do you, and your dog, want to make out with me?
Me: Ummmmmmm, no thanks.
Homeless guy: Well, yee-haw then, right?
Awesome. And then the other day while leaving work and heading to my car, a homeless gentleman followed me for three whole blocks shouting the refrain, “Elegance! Class! Sensuality!” at my back, over and over. At first, I wasn’t sure if I should take this as a compliment or as confirmation of my being a shit-magnet. But now I think this is simply another instance of people in the city not understanding or respecting the fact that sometimes, some people are better off just keeping their thoughts and body parts to themselves.
Now look here, transients and other streetfolk: I get your predicament, and I can sympathize, but could you perhaps try to just stop shouting things at me and the other people who pass you on the street? That would be really helpful; if you could just keep the crazy to yourself for a few minutes I, for one, would be really grateful. For the most part—just to go on record with these things—I don’t want to A) have a three-way with you and my dog, B) give you all the cash in my wallet, C) see your genitalia, D) get close enough to smell your breath, E) pet the cat mysteriously and ominously perched on your shoulder, F) step in your pee puddle on the sidewalk, or G) hear why Jesus wants to see me rot in hell for my demonry. In fact, let’s go ahead and just imagine a two-foot bubble around each and every person unless otherwise indicated.
Working downtown allows me the opportunity to see all kinds of inappropriate behavior, and I fear that this will likely not be the last post of this series. Public transit etiquette and passive aggressive tendencies in the grocery line each warrant their own rant, sure to come in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.