Summer Fun - June Edition
Harper's First Existential Question

An Odd Thing Happened One Friday Night

Two months ago, Kurt and I were watching TV on a Friday night and Harper was asleep. Since it was June, the front door was closed to the cool night air. A few minutes after 9, I heard the screen door open outside and thought "What is Debra doing over here so late?" (She's a good friend who lives two blocks away and sometimes drops by.) I stood up, about to go to the door and open it, when it opened and a strange man walked in.

It wasn't as scary as it sounds because the second I saw him I realized he was confused or hurt or something. (And also because Kurt was right behind me.) The man was tall, grey haired, in his 60's and looking a bit worse for wear. His head had a scrape and some blood (not bleeding, but bloody) and he just looked sort of roughed up.

He stood in the entry and I said "Hi."

He looked at me and said, "Hi."

I said, "Is this your house?" and he said, "Yes."


I explained that in fact it wasn't, then he seemed to focus a bit and then apologized profusely and walk out. But I followed him because in those few seconds I saw that he was hurt, and clearly something was off. So I told him to come back in and sit down. He really seemed bewildered. Yes, it turns out, he was in fact drunk, but was acting more like he had dementia. We were worried he'd really hurt his head.

I got him some water and we asked him a few questions. He had his wallet with an address nearby (a mile or so) and we thought, well, we should take him home. But one of us would have to stay with Harper and I thought we should get some help. We called a another friend in the neighborhood and he came over. In the mean time, turns out the man did not have his cell phone or keys on him, so that made getting to his place tougher. Also, he lived alone and we were worried about his condition.

After trying a few ways to contact any family to no avail, we decided to call the police to see if they could help. We all chatted while we waited for the cops, me, the man, Kurt and our friend. The man had warmed up a bit and was talking about sports and that he was in the army in Vietnam, "Driving f*cking trucks." The cops arrived, two nice young officers, and they spoke to the man, asked him questions, determined he had been drinking and had fallen on our front lawn. The cops thought they should call paramedics just in case he had done more damage than just scrapes and bruises.

While we all waited for the paramedics to arrive (and yes, Harper slept through all of this, and yes we know we are so lucky to have such a great sleeper) the man chatted more with the cops, saying a few off color things like thanking the cops for their service, but then referring to them as "These mother-f*ckers". When one of the cops asked if the man had been drinking, he said yes and that maybe he'd smoked some weed as well. 

DUDE! A little situational awareness!

One of the cops just looked at me and said, "Oh I didn't hear that!"

Paramedics arrived, looked him over and determined it would be better to take him to a hospital. The man looked at me and asked if he should. It was a strange moment. There was a hint of a scared little boy there. Very sad. I said I thought it was a good idea. So off they all went. (Harper still sleeping.)

Our friend was still there and the three of us talked about it for a little while. I thought it was sad that the man was alone. (He had told us he was divorced and his grown kids lived far away from here.) But then I said that maybe he was an alcoholic asshole and that's why he was alone. Who knows. I sent him good wishes and hoped he was okay.

I've wondered about him all these weeks. Then two days ago, I stopped at the local Coffee Bean, the one right next door to where the man lived and where he said he spent a lot of time. (I had been there since June but hadn't seen him.) I was paying for my order and he walked up behind me to get something. I turned and looked at him and said, "Is your name Rich?" and he said yes, and I said his last name and he said yes. I told him he came to my house a while back after falling and that the paramedics had taken him to the hospital.

He said, "Yeah, I just got a bill for $1000 from the fire dept. I'm not paying that. I didn't ask to be taken to the hospital!"

I said, "Well, you had fallen and we were worried you had hit your head."

"Who called the paramedics?" (Asshole. Check.)

"I did."

"How did you know I had fallen?"

"You walked in my front door, thinking it was your own place."

He stopped there for a second. I really think he didn't remember a thing. He said, "I was drunk." Like it was no big deal. But then he did ask "Were you scared when I walked in?" And I said "No, you looked hurt and confused, not drunk. And plus my husband was there with me."

He just nodded and gave me a half-hearted "thanks and thank your husband too." I wished him well again and left with my coffee.

I got home later and told Kurt about it and was really glad I could cross that guy off my curiosity list. Now I knew he was a big drinker and kind of an ass. Just makes me feel all the more sorry for him.