Sunday, May 5, 2013

A medical issue


On 86th street I see what appears to be a pile of clothes and blankets stuffed between the scaffolding  and the church. Tell myself I need to check that out later. People always leaving clothes, food...

Marsha arrives and we talk about the upcoming annual meeting. And what we’ve learned from discussions with the Eldridge Street Synagogue and conversations with  urbanologist Roberta Gratz. Just as Marsha’s about to leave, Jamie arrives from her training session for the upcoming New York City Triathlon.  The conversation shifts to real estate. And then Stephen arrives.

We go outside. Go by the pile of clothes. Someone says, there’s someone there....and indeed, under the blankets, in front of the wheel chair, there’s someone there. 

 I poke the blankets. Sir, you can’t sleep here during the day.You’re going to have to leave,OK?

Yeah, yeah, I get it. I’m on my way...

Stephen and Jamie go off to talk about real estate. I head off to review law suits. When I get back the man's still there. He asks for some iced tea. Green tea in fact. Gives me two dollars. That’s different. At the convenience store, the tea is only a dollar. I bring the tea and a dollar back. I wanted two, he says. I reiterate that he’s got to go. He assures me he will. After a futile trip to the Bengladeshi copy shop, I'm back again. With another iced tea.

Later, I go out to see the end of the Nets game. He’s still there. Explains he’s had an accident. Waiting for dark to change and go. Do I have your word? I ask. May God strike me blind and take my eyes, he says. That’s not necessary, I say. 

After the Nets go down to the Bulls, I’m back. And he’s still there. I talk to him. Yes I’m going. Do you think I want to lose my eyes? I’m going. Don'y make a big deal out of it....And he tells me that he’s filled up with problems. With issues. Supposed to stay with a so-called friend. Betrayed. If I call an ambulance, he’ll only wind up in jail because he’ll resist. He’s been going through troubles, he tells me. So I let it go. For now.

Inside, Stephen  is getting impatient. It’s a medical issue, he says. And I tell Stephen what the man  said about ambulances and police. And we reach an agreement, if he’s not gone by morning, we call 9-11.

Stephen heads for a nap, I continue to work in my sermon.  Hours later, Stephen stops in. Asks if I’m ever going home. It’s time, I say. 

Outside, our man is still there. In the morning, 9-11. Stephen will wait until I get there.

It’s been a long day.

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