what i can't see

Last night I stopped on my way home for a big hot helping of Crazy Man Invective To Go. It was dark along the stretch of street where I was walking, so I couldn't quite locate the source of an angry monotone mumbling, until I spotted the guy across the street in a bus shelter. He was dressed almost entirely in greys and browns and stood at a slight tilt forward, with the effect of looking like a piece of public sculpture, the kind that communicates whimsy and civic pride at once. He was staring at me and mumbling loudly enough to project his voice down the block, but not quite loudly or coherently enough for me to pick out individual words. I stared back at him, just in case he was someone I knew, but this seemed to break his tenuous hold on sanity. His voice whistled up through the registers of frantic despair when he realized I was returning his look as I passed. He screamed, "Can't you see that you're a FUCKING IDIOT?" and then went back to his mumbling. I think he'd dismissed me with those words, like he'd summed up an entire argument and I had no rebuttal worth hearing.

Since I work near the Mental Health Centre and I pass by the place nearly every day, chances are better than good that I'll run into this guy again. It's likely that he'll be lucid next time I run into him and may remember me as the FUCKING IDIOT guy who just couldn't see himself for what he was. He'll give me a shy smile and maybe, eventually, by way of apology, ask me if I have some change. Then in a few weeks I'll get another barrage of incoherent screams in the dark. Maybe I'll find out soemthing new about myself. Perhaps I'm some GODDAMN ASSHOLE, and WHAT DO I GOTTA DO THOSE THINGS FOR and DON'T I UNDERSTAND WHO I'M HURTING?. I'm looking forward to the next stage in our relationship.