Wednesday, July 3, 2013

No champagne today


Walking down 86th, I see a familiar form. Sean tucked under the railing against the wall again. As I approach, I see he’s asleep. Flies buzzing. This time I don’t feel anger. Just defeat. I wake him, Sean, you can’t be here. 
I know. 
You have to go. Don’t make it hard for me, OK?
I have to stay here until dark....accident...don’t know why....until dark...
Sean, that’s like 8 hours. You can’t lie here for 8 hours....
OK, OK just give me a me a solid...
OK, I have an appointment. I’ll be back in a hour or so. Help me out, OK?

Call Reachout. They’ve already been here. Sent a doctor. Says it’s not an emergency. So....they’ve done their bit for the day. I also talk about Rob. His desire for a solution, a plan. They’ll keep their eye out.

I’m thinking about madness. How when you enter into that world, it’s hard to get out. You feel the earth has shifted, nothing stable. Unsettling. But equally shaking is the world of addiction. Some of my best counselor /therapist friends won't go near it. All he has to do is accept the help that is being offered. But he can’t. Why? That’s a mystery. My tradition doesn’t allow me to judge. Jesus didn't give me the gift of casting out demons. But I also have to set boundaries.

When I come back, Danielle is here. Just as Stephen comes in, he and Danielle tell me Sean is still there. But a young couple has come in to talk about getting married. Interfaith. Catholic and Jewish. The young man is a lineman for Con Ed. A pole climber. Sounds pretty exciting to me. I explain how I, like a rabbi, am not a mediator (between the couple and God, like a priest) but a facilitator, like a rabbi.It is the couple who marry each each other. And friends, family, people who love you can carry the Jewish parts of the ceremony. The young woman seems to be relieved.

Back to the reality at hand. Stephen explains the NO. I still don’t get it. Not his time. But NO it was.  And is. And shall remain. Can we get a plan B? Yes, but time running short. The existential realities are closing in. As we are talking, a woman walks in. Excuse me, I live down the street. There’s a terrible smell wafting down the street. I saw a man....there’s a terrible smell...

I shake my head. Yes, I know. We’ll take care of it. I know what happens next.
Time for the yellow gloves. Stephen heads out to get bleach. I get the gloves. Damarius comes with us. We get to the site. Damarius says, You think he’s coming back for his clothes? 
Not these, I respond. No one else is making a move. So it’s me gathering the soaked cardboard, blasted clothes, Damarius opens the large black bag. I carry it off. Stephen follows  quickly behind with the bleach.

I look at Damarius. So anything I ask you to do now, you gotta do, right?
Shakes his head yes. He looks somewhat amazed. I say to Stephen and Damarius, lifting up my hands, That’s the boundary, right there. When we get to yellow gloves time.

So that’s that part of the equation for the day. But no champagne on the horizon. Not today.

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