By Max R. Weller
It was so pleasant weather-wise last night that I decided to throw off my tarp and gaze at the stars. I can’t recall what time this was, but when I looked around there were five mule deer within fifty feet of me. They glanced at me for only a second or two, then continued grazing their way across the field where I have my campsite, before crossing U.S. 36 to their usual nightly spot over by Railroad Man’s place (he’s the guy with two cabooses and a sleeper car in his yard). Geez, it’s easy to see why they’re called “mule” deer; their ears are huge compared to those of the whitetail deer back in my home state of Missouri. Three does and what I guessed were a couple of yearling fawns, too big to have been born this past spring.
I fell asleep with my tarp laid aside. A while later, I heard Br’er Fox rustling around in my nearby trash bag. There wasn’t anything to his liking, as I’m careful to avoid leaving out food that would attract him and/or his acquaintance, Br’er Skunk. When I do toss away chicken bones for ’em, it’s far away from my spot because they’ve shown a tendency to squabble over such treats in the past.
This morning around 4AM (I did check my watch then because I sensed it was nearly time for me to get up), the neighborhood coyotes set up a chorus from both north and east, calling back and forth with the latest coyote gossip:
“Hey, don’t bite the humans over in Niwot. They’ll track you down and shoot you!”
“Thanks for the tip. Can we still eat the prairie dogs?”
I love this sort of bucolic experience, and much prefer it to any interaction with drunks, dope fiends, and assorted crazies. Drunk Brian called me “antisocial” just the other day because I’ve made it clear to him that I find his company undesirable. He spent yesterday afternoon passed out drunk in front of the Mexican restaurant in the 4900 block of N. Broadway, right next to one of the large NO TRESPASSING signs there. Me? I’ve been sober and glad of it for over a decade now.
Which brings me to this morning outside Boulder Shelter for the Homeless . . . The rules are very clear: this secure facility opens at 6AM, only staff can open the door, those hardy souls like me coming inside must then check in with staff at the front desk, we must turn in any weapons and/or meds, etc. A few minutes before 6 o’clock on this occasion, some wild-eyed fool I’d never seen before opened the door and invited us inside. Although there are many new staff members at BSH this winter season, I knew at a glance that this character wasn’t one of ’em; I took him for another druggie from Denver.
I said to him, “You’re NOT staff — what the hell are you doing? You’re going to get us all in trouble for coming in early! Get the f*** away from us!”
He closed the door, but gave me the finger. So, I cussed him out as I usually do with all knuckleheads who try to get me caught up in their stupidity for no reason. I don’t recall exactly, but I may have called him an idiot and worse. He came back over to the door, opened it again, and started running his mouth as if I could be intimidated by that. A staff member in the back office apparently heard the commotion, and she came up front at that point. I briefly described what had occurred, while Denver Druggie continued trying to take charge of the situation. He failed to do so. The staff member sat him down on the nearby bench, and asked us to wait before coming inside. DD refused to calm down, and after a few minutes he was instructed to leave the premises. As he went out the door, he pointed to me and made some vague reference to seeing me outside later on. He continued running his mouth as he was standing on BSH property, lacking any common sense or self-control whatsoever. The staff member, to her credit, told him to leave the property altogether or she would call the police.
I didn’t want that done on my account, since talking to the cops would have delayed my morning routine of showering, drying yesterday’s laundry, drinking my mug of instant coffee, etc. I didn’t sense that Denver Druggie was actually going to attack me physically, because I’d been standing right there throughout the drama and all he did was talk. In any case, I presume he’ll be banned from BSH for a period of time. Furthermore, since I don’t hang out at the favorite gathering places of Denver bums like Central Park and Pearl Street Mall, I’ll probably never see him again.
I’m concerned, however, about my own attitude during this ruckus. I feel so much ANGER towards these bums (which I manage to conceal, except when I express it in writing) that I have no fear — never a wise approach. I know enough from my time in Missouri DOC to watch my back, but if it comes down to a fight I intend to hurt my opponent with any dirty tactic I can use, including driving my trekking pole into his Adam’s apple or groin. I’m halfway ashamed to admit that I’d probably enjoy doing so.
That’s NOT the way I used to feel when I was actually a participant in the Real World, and not the Homeless Philosopher.
Thank goodness I have the wild critters and Nature in general to enjoy on a daily basis.