Among the many homeless who inhabit the K Streets there is one guy who attracts a lot of attention from neighborhood residents. He looks to be an Asian man, maybe 40 but it’s hard to tell, and his most distinguishing characteristic is a near catatonic positioning at spots around town.
One Guy stands near perfectly still, sometimes facing the street and sometimes facing inward or staring at a leaf, a pole, an invisible something or other. He doesn’t respond to folks walking near and passing him. He doesn’t react to familiar sounds of the K Streets. He just stands for the longest time and then…he’s gone, having quietly and unobtrusively shuffled off to another venue where the catatonia begins again.
I’ve never heard One Guy speak. I’ve never seen him lift his eyes from whatever it is that attracts his intent focus. He stands so still my back and legs start to develop sympathy pain just watching. He doesn’t scratch himself, cough, mumble or hum.
Not long ago we had some heavy rains and some kind soul must have given One Guy an umbrella. It’s a pretty bright blue umbrella, a woman’s umbrella I’d say, and One Guy holds it motionless over his head now, rain or shine.
But One Guy is deteriorating. His clothing has become unbelievably filthy, formerly of-white shirt and pants are now oil-slick black. His skin has become encrusted with the dirt and debris of street living. I think I see sores on his ankles and arms. I fear for him because it is clear he cannot care for himself. He is one of the lost ones the stuff left behind as our culture rocks on.
I talked with others about One Guy and they agree with the things I’ve said here. They have also called the City and some agencies trying to get help for One Guy but to no avail. I wonder what will happen to him and if any of us will even know the end of the story. I don’t know what to do for One Guy either. I wish I did.