What ya gonna do?

22 Apr

Today, at 9 am, my husband and I encountered a man at Mangrove Safeway who was so intoxicated he was trying to enter the “EXIT ONLY” door. He just stood there with his nose to the glass, pressing at the door with his chest, pushing the concrete with his feet. His face was red with alcohol poisoning.

When we’d entered the parking lot via the back alley, we saw him laying in a fetal position behind Kwando, two wine bottles laying nearby.  We were surprised to see him lumbering up to the front door of Safeway a few minutes later. He looked to be in his late 20’s, long hair, unshaven, but weirdly clean. He was wearing new clothes – a t-shirt and what appeared to be medical scrubs for pants, and bright aqua blue sneakers. 

When I was young I worked at a retail store on a busy boulevard in Sacramento.  The entry had an old brick planter with an awning over the front, to shade the store from the intense afternoon sun. We’d long since given up trying to plant anything in the planter box, the bums would sit on it all night, drinking cheap booze and watching the cars go by, it would be full  of empty bottles and other junk the next morning.

The boss would schedule a team of two to open the store – one big, mean looking guy to deal with the front entrance, and another person to run the cash registers and get the store going. The planter and awning created a neat little shelter.  Most mornings there would be at least one human body blocking the front door, and the ground would be sticky with urine, spilled drinks, food trash, and sometimes a pile of human poop.

The front door guy was given a janitorial style mop bucket on wheels, a jug of bleach, a push broom, and a big, yellow fat hose, with a key to open the spigot on the side of the store. Of course that had to be locked up good – we’d actually  had transients who’d found a way to get on the roof, set up a neat little camp, with a hose running down to that spigot for fresh water! Ginchee!

One morning my co-worker came into the store to say he thought the old man on the front steps might be dead. His own face had a tint of green – the old man had thrown up blood and booze all over the entrance, and he wouldn’t respond to my friend’s prodding and pleading.

These people drove us nuts. We were open late at night and they were always trying to  get into the store. If they made it past the front cash register we’d have a hell of a time getting them out, and the cops wouldn’t help us. I think the oldest one of my co-workers was about 24 years old, we’d all grown up in the suburbs, the worst thing we’d seen was our dad with a hangover.

So my  friend and I were both really scared this guy was dead. It wasn’t exactly sympathy, but we had never seen a dead guy before. We went into the back of the store to call the cops and – you guessed it – when we came back the old bastard had picked himself up and wandered out into the busy street, swearing and swinging his fists at the early morning traffic.  And then he was gone, but not quite forgotten…

Nothing left to do but call the cops off and clean the front entry. Yeeeeeeccccchhhhh!

So I don’t know what to do when I see these people flocking all over the Mangrove Plaza. As could have been predicted, the warm weather is bringing them in droves.

I don’t know what to do about the general atmosphere of “Who gives a shit” that seems to be overcoming our town.  Worse – so many people are in point blank denial – today the park is packed with people participating in that paint run – are they blind to the condition of the park? There are pot holes with white spray paint circles around them in the park road  – Hello!?! 

The other day my husband and I went up to walk our dogs along Humboldt Road. Wow, what a mess that’s become, but if you watch out for broken glass there are a few nice hikes.  We found a place along the road that’s become a couch dump – even a big screen tv. Wandering along a little creek, we came upon a trashed car we hadn’t seen before, so we guessed it’s been dumped within the last month or so. The trunk, hood, doors were wide open, stuff was torn out all over the place. A faded note held in place by a window wiper said the car had not been abandoned, please leave it alone. 

0421170904

Anybody recognize this car?

It sure looked “unused, disused, neglected, idledeserted, unoccupied, uninhabited, empty” to me.  I always wonder if these cars have been stolen and are in the process of being stripped. 

Even though this is within the city limits and jurisdiction of Chico PD – a city work crew was up there, dumping slobbers in pot holes – I don’t even know who to report it to. When I reported a very much inhabited campsite we found down there,  Chico PD acted as though I was just being a pill.  I can’t believe the city road crew didn’t see all that stuff from the cab of their big bulldozer. The county has known about it for years.

I sent a picture I took of the homeless camp out front of Home Depot to the Enterprise Records’ “Hotshots,” we’ll see if they print it.  I don’t know how else to draw attention to this issue when so many people just don’t want to hear or do anything about it. 

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