On 3 separate occassions now, I’ve made the very dangerous mistake of looking “crazies” in the eye. You see, I live in a city (Philadelphia) and like any major city, we have homeless people. We also have crazy homeless people. I prefer to call them “crazies”, because I don’t want to lump them in with the nicer, more friendly homeless I occassionally give my spare change to. And for those curious, the easiest way to spot a “crazy” is to see if they’re talking to themselves (or, perhaps other imaginary people). It’s usually not just idle chatter either… it’s loud and often argumentative.
On Occassion #1, I made the mistake of walking towards a “crazy” older women late one night. She was talking to herself in a pretty vicious tone, but as soon as our eyes met, all her anger was focused towards me. Not only that, but as I moved to avoid her, she moved in EXACTLY THE SAME DIRECTION. It had now become a game of chicken and yes, I admit, I lost. She creeped me out.
Occassion #2 featured a young(er) guy who was trying to pull a locked bike off of a sign-post. He was very angry and at one point yelled out like a 5-year-old “I’m so HUNGRY”. As my luck goes, he and I were on the same sidewalk and as he turned and noticed me, our eyes met. He proceeded to ask me for some money (due to his hunger, of course). When I said I didn’t have any, he asked for my iPod (he saw the headphones) saying “I can get $50 for that and get some food”. Sadly, I had to decline, but that didn’t stop him from following me a short ways before someone else made the mistake of looking at him.
Lastly, Occassion #3 was actually a bit frightening. On a nice Sunday afternoon, I was walking over to my landlord’s office to drop off some keys. There was an older gentlmen on the sidewalk and he was yelling at people as they walked by… loudly. Given my past experiences, I knew to stay on the other side of the road, but like an idiot I looked at him. I think you can imagine what happened next. Yep, he yelled at me… then proceeded to threaten my life and threaten to “cut me”. Awesome. The scary part (aside from the threats) was that he was a pretty big guy and could probably do some damage to me. I mean, I’m 6’0″ and about 225lbs, but he was at least 6’3″ and probably 250.