Tag Archives: slice of life

The Times We Live In.

So I’m mak­ing sup­per and I glance out the win­dow and I can see this guy at the cor­ner of our lot. He’s got a red wagon with extended card­board sides and he’s kind of star­ing down the side­walk past the side of our house kind of blankly.

Crazy alert,” I say over my shoul­der into the kitchen. My son elbows me out of the way and stares at the guy over the sink.
“What’s he doing?“
“I don’t know. What’s with the wagon?“
“Why’s he just stand­ing there?“
“I’m sure he’s just wait­ing on some­one.“
“Dude,” my son uses my given name. “A grown man with a wagon?“
The girl reports from the front room: “There’s a blan­ket and news­pa­pers in the wagon! I think he’s home­less!“
“He’s not home­less. Look at his shoes.“
“Crazy. Def­i­nitely crazy.“
The guy turns like he’s fol­low­ing some­thing invis­i­ble. He moves the wagon like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. It rolls off the side­walk into the snow. He rocks it back and forth kind of gen­tly. He looks up. Looks around.
“He’s not going any­where.“
“Why us?“
“Dad, can my friend walk home with a crazy guy in the neigh­bor­hood?“
“Uh,” rapid law­suit cal­cu­la­tions. “No. Tell him to wait.“

How do you know he’s crazy?” The friend asks.
“Dude: grown man. Wagon. Blan­ket. Newspapers.”

WHAT? OMG!” Rush to the win­dow. The dogs fol­low the friend. Now two tweens, a teen, me, and two dogs are all star­ing out the win­dow at the cor­ner side­walk inter­sec­tion.
“How do you know he’s crazy?” The friend asks.
“Dude: grown man. Wagon. Blan­ket. News­pa­pers.“
The guy looks up, starts pulling the wagon around the cor­ner to our front side­walk, toward our walk.
“Oh shit! He’s com­ing!“
“Come on, guys, he’s not … I mean…“
“Dad, should we call 911!?“
“No. Just go to your room.“
“I’m in the mid­dle of an assault any­way.“
They leave. The girl resumes manic T.V. con­sump­tion. I go back to wash­ing dishes. I look up through the win­dow and the guy is kind of rock­ing back on his heals, wav­ing his arms vaguely, like he’s talk­ing to him­self.
Maybe I should call Dave. He’s a cop. He’ll know what to do1.
Then a kid walks into the scene from the front of my house.  A poor inno­cent kid! I drop my towel and I’m think­ing I have to warn that kid! I’ve got to do some­thing!
The guy reaches for the kid with one great mani­a­cal gloved hand … and tou­sles his hair. The kid throws a cou­ple of news­pa­pers into the wagon. The man takes the kid’s hand and they walk away, down the block, father and son, deliv­er­ing the local paper.

  1. Dave would laugh