i spied a seat, after collecting my yummy indian fare from my favorite fast food india joint, in my usual spot (against the windows on the booth/bench seating). At the table next to mine was one of the local street people who you can ususally find at the corner of 11th and NY ave bouncing from person to person and car to car asking for change. Usually with some desperate story about just getting out of a hospital or need for food.
This plump, jovial individual who emmits an air of euphoric disturbance was busy chomping away at her chosen meal of the day; bar b que, macaroni and cabbage....
Each bite was interspersed with mumblings about some "house that contained a baby" and how HANDSOME I was. To all of which I smiled and nodded as I dove into my lamb thali AND PALAK PANEER.
As the tables around us started to fill and the noise of our section started to rise, the mumblings turned into screams and yelps that were acompanied by over exagerated facial expressions towards no one in particular.
Now, none of this behaviour bothers me, for I am known to act weird and abrasive at times for no particular reason. But I could clearly sense our neighbors eating were getting anxious for this woman to finish eating an leave.
When the previously mentioned street person got up to leave, a waft of air stirred up by her movement hit my olfactory organs. At first I was unable to discern what the smell was. As she got up to go she revealed that the back of her dress was covered in feces (or what I assumed was feces) it was then that brain made the connection.
This is when I started to think of friends and colleagues who had to deal with mental illness in some form or another. The pain and frustration of daily battles between reality and constructs of an ill brain, is something I don't think i would have the strength for. How could I cope? How could I go on ? If this was something I had to live with day in day out? And to think I cursed to myself eveytime she came to me begging for change ( I always thought she was a crackhead looking for her next hit).
The gentleman sitting two tables away made eye contact with me as if to say "FUCKING LOONIES!!!". My reply, of contemptuous stoicism put him in place.
at which point I got up and moved to another table to get away from the smell of shit.