Waiting for the snow on a grey afternoon.  

There’s a guy who lives down the street.  I bumped into him last summer as he was getting out of his car.  He had been sleeping, more likely passed out and he looked like hell only he didn’t know it.  He told me that he was going to lose his license for DUI but he really didn’t have a drinking problem.  He did however say that he saw nothing wrong with enjoying himself from time to time.  Where have I seen and heard this before?

He said that he knew I was a runner and also rode my bike a lot.  He wanted to get more active and was looking for advice.  Mind you I that for the first 10 minutes of this one way conversation it was truly one way and I said absolutely nothing.

i suggest running – bad knees, biking – no bike, swimming –  can’t swim, gym – can’t afford it, walking?  I suppose that without a license he was going to get very familiar with walking.  

I felt like I was his best friend and maybe at the moment I was since it seemed apparent that his home life was pretty awful.  I’m a good listener but more than once I asked myself – ” Why is he telling me this?”  The poor guy was broken open from head to toe, heart and soul and I happened to be in the right or wrong place at the appropriate time.  It’s hard to listen when the person who is speaking has his head tilted one way and his hair is going in several opposite directions.

But I listened.  I have enough experience with alcohol and what it does to people.  I really don’t want anymore but I listened.  It was my good deed for the day I guess.

After that I never saw him run or bike or walk, he was in the passenger seat every time I saw him after our encounter.  Now he sometimes sits in a dark car parked snugly up against his garage even on the coldest days and nights of the winter.  Maybe his wife only lets him in to sleep.  Maybe it’s his man car cave.  Maybe it’s really none of my business.

 I will tell you this – his house always, and I mean always has every shade and curtain pulled and closed tight.  Natural light couldn’t get in with a crowbar and sledgehammer. I don’t know if the aversion to sunlight and fresh air is alcohol related.  with excessive drinking everything becomes alcohol related.  A slow motion tragedy in progress right down the block.

Still waiting for the snow on a still grey afternoon.

I don’t know how it ends for him, his wife or kids.  I don’t know if this is as good as it’s ever going to get or if it ever changes.  I don’t know.  

I still say Hi in the that neighborly I really don’t want to have another heart to heart talk with you kind of way.