Being a good writer requires you have good observational skills, which at times I think I lack. I think it’s because the things I observe are usually really weird and I feel like they only make sense to me. One thing I have noticed is that homeless/crazy people ALWAYS talk to me. Something about me makes them feel like they should say something. Maybe crazy people and I are kindred spirits. In my neighborhood there are a few regulars that I frequently interact with.
Mr. Beige Flannel:
This is the guy that can be seen
walking strutting down the mean streets of Palms. His uniform is a beige flannel shirt and cargo pants. When I first met Mr. Beige Flannel I was walking to my car. He complimented my outfit and made some comment about women wearing heels. This has led to a long relationship of us waving or saying hello whenever we saw each other. He has even directed me into difficult parking spots. The other day when I locked my keys in my car for the 100 millionth time, Mr. Beige Flannel walked by and gave me a friendly lecture about how I need to keep a spare key on me at all times. He said, “I know I sound like your white uncle but…” This made me realize that he kind of was. That awkward uncle you don’t really know but he always looks out for you. Your conversations are short but you know he cares. Henceforth Mr. Beige Flannel will be referred to as ‘My White Uncle’.
I met trivia man one evening coming home from work. He was either taking out the trash or digging for recyclables. He wore a wife beater with an opened button down, jeans, and a wave cap (probably a cut stocking) on his head. He stopped me and asked me how long I’d been living here. I told him I just moved in I assumed he was my new neighbor or something. Nope turns out he was just your local, neighborhood, crazy person. He proceeded to tell me how long he had lived here (years) and in a strange turn of events started asking me a series of questions about American history and pop culture. He went from telling me he lives in the building where Marvin Gaye was shot to asking me what famous singer’s daughter married Michael Jackson. I found myself struggling to answer his questions and feeling bad for getting them wrong. Ten minutes go by and I think, “Wait, why the hell was I still answering his questions?!” I slowly started exiting the conversation then briskly walked to my door. I laugh when I see Trivia Man cornering some unsuspecting passerby’s with his barge of questions. Questions of both facts and shit he made up.
Those are just a two of the “characters” in my hood. I’m sure there are people who don’t stop to speak to Trivia Man and My White Uncle. Maybe that’s what crazy people see in me, my good nature. Or they look at me and think, “Yup I can go be all types of crazy with her and she will listen.”