Sunday, January 11, 2009

What Crazy Looks Like

30th Street Train Station in Philadelphia

This past Friday, I put my car in the Firestone Shop at 32nd and Market Streets to have some minimal repairs done. Since this type of thing usually takes a couple of hours, I decided to walk over to the 30th Street Train Station to peruse some of the shops inside and pick up some newspapers and magazines.

Upon entering the train station, I thought it would be a good idea to get some money out of the ATM machine. While I was standing there, I noticed her out of the corner of my eye. She was a very attractive woman who kinda put you in the mind of the singer, Keyshia Cole, though a few years older. She was dressed very nicely and sitting at one of the many tables that are situated outside of the restaurants and coffee shops inside the train station. She had a lot of papers on the table that she was peering at and she appeared to be talking on a cell phone. I've seen this scenario a million times in the airports, train stations, and coffee shops I've gone to... people waiting for planes and trains, tapping away on laptops or blackberries, and chatting away on cell phones. There was nothing out of the ordinary about it.

I got my money, counted it, and put it in my wallet. I looked over at the lady and I could see that she was staring at me. She winked (which under the circumstances, I thought was kind of odd) and I smiled. She then asked me if I could lend her eighty cents so she could buy a cup of coffee. I get propositioned for money by homeless people and bums all the time and depending on my mood, I either let go of a few dollars or I keep walking. Today was her lucky day so, I passed her a dollar. (Where are you going to get coffee for eighty cents outside of McDonalds anyway?)This seemed strange to me because, at first glance, this was the type of woman that I would be borrowing money from... not vice versa.

Anyway, I walked over to hand her a dollar and the first thing I noticed was that all of the papers on the table were dirty and handwritten with mathematical equations and alphabets all over them in no certain order. The woman looked at me and said, "When I get my new house, I'm going to have you over and we can spend some time together." Say what? Maybe she had me mistaken for someone else, I thought! Then, she said.. "Don't mind all these documents. I'm trying to get my business plan together. I emailed Obama from my cell phone this morning. He hasn't hit me back yet but, I'm trying to get him to give me a government loan so I can set up my businesses. I have a plan to set up a franchise of homes and shelters for battered women. It would be like the McDonald's of shelters for battered women." (I kid you not, she actually said that!) She said, "I'm tired of fooling with Bush and them Republicans. I done emailed him, mailed him letters, and he ain't sent me nary a response. I just emailed Obama yesterday and I was hoping he'd get back to me before the inauguration."

Upon looking at her closer, I noticed that her "cell phone" didn't have any back on it... no cell, no battery either. It was just a frame. If she has been emailing President Elect Barack Obama on that phone, I doubt that he'll be getting back to her anytime soon. Maybe that's why Bush didn't get back to her either! Okay, At this point, you realize that I understood that this woman was out of her mind so, I backed up.

There was another sister at the ATM machine who must have heard the entire conversation. She was cracking up... laughing and banging her hand on the side of the machine. I looked at her and said, "She's crazy but, she doesn't look crazy." The sister looked at me and said, "So, what does crazy look like? She's here everyday, talking out of her head like that and she gets men to hand over twenty dollars or more to her. She must stay somewhere because she's always clean and dressed nice. I wonder if she really is crazy or if you guys are the ones who are crazy for talking to her and giving her money."

I have to admit... the sister had a point!

25 comments:

Kofi Bofah said...

1: You can't judge a book by its cover.

2: I have met some homeless people that I would describe as intelligent - but I think that they just could not cope with the grind of society and have fallen through the cracks.

I have had homeless people grill me about the stock market. I have had homeless people identify and analyze particular stocks.

And there were a lot of Chicago's street regulars in attendance at the Grant Park Election Day event.

And I am not talking about the Chris Garner - Pursuit of HappYness type of homeless, either.

T. Michelle Theus said...

Wow, that was definitely an eye- opening experience! I kind of hope that she is just a good hustler because I feel bad for her thinking that nobody wants to help her build the "McDonald's of Battered Women's Shelters" =p

CurvyGurl said...

This is sad. You definitely never can determine one's situation based on appearances.

I don't think we should equate homelessness with mental illness. It seems like it's prevalent among those facing hard times who are living on the streets, but I think it's just a case of it being more 'in your face' when you're out and about. Mental illness is yet another one of those issues that will take serious effort and dollars to address.

Pray for the sister, she appears to be until the grips of serious mental problems....and could actually be a brilliant scientist, etc. who just needs a helping hand, some meds and therapy.

Beautifully.Conjured.Up said...

Either she is really homeless, or her game is on point. Seriously, I've heard of people who do that as their side hustle.

Angel said...

Well I found it funny Keith, I always seem to bump into that kind of person so im glad it was you this time.

I think she is really mad or making loads of money acting mad. There was a guy in our papers last year who said he made £56k a year pretending to be homeless and crazy. I was thinking about changing my job...

stillpatrice said...

lol Keith how long were you talking to her? lol

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hey there Keith!

That is really a trip. I feel very sad when I encounter this type of situation.

I have worked with many mentally ill and emotionally ill people for many years and there really IS NOT a profile of what "crazy" looks like. In fact, the truly insane often appear to be the most normal. Think how Jeffrey Dahmer the cannibal appeared when arrested. He looked like any guy who would sit next to you on the train.

There are many homeless people who are college-educated. I met a former professor once who was on a park bench homeless. He had untreated mental illness and it just depleted everything in his life. Remember the movie "A Beautiful Mind" about the white guy who was a genius and was schizophrenic?

It's truly disheartening to see gifted people succumb to mental deterioriation....

Tate2 said...

That's a hillarious story Keith,but it's true...what does crazy look like? She sounds like a
hustler to me.

Angie B. said...

She was crazy like a fox.ROFLMAO!

Jazzy said...

A mInd is a terrible thing to lose my brother.

Toni said...

Wow Keith, that was funny...A lot of these so called "crazy" folks are bonified con artists..you have to be careful.

James Perkins said...

That's hillarious Keith...Old girl had her "game" tight.

Vanessa said...

LMAO Keith....That was too funny.
I think the other sister was right,you guys are the ones who are crazy. Sister girl was taking you all.lololol.

Grover Tha Playboy said...

Playa to Playa...She's gooooood! lololol.Great Story Keith.

Sunflower said...

You Can't judge a book by it's cover Keith and this experience is proof of that.lolol.

LIsa said...

Hi Keith...This sounds like someone who has had a nervous breakdown recently and has just checked out of reality. Or she could be schizophrenic..

Halo said...

Great story as usual Keith...I think that young lady was working her game well...I notice that no women appeared to be victims...just men..She knew what she was doing..she wasn't crazy.

Simon Bastion said...

Hey Brother...I'm busy watching your Eagles beat the Giants...

Funny Story....it does make you wonder who was crazy.lolol.

Swaggie said...

That was a hillarious story...I can't tell you how many seemingly "crazy" people I've met who were actually on the ball...THere is a thin line between
sanity and insanity.

Captain Jack said...

Hey Keith, checking in here,since you didn't post anything on "Escapades " last night..Great Story as usual...funny as hell.

Shorty said...

Geeze, you fellas get a bit of eye contact and a wink from a lady and you're ready to hand over some dough. You know, I have a pretty bad Starbucks addiction. Perhaps I can try this same move and see how many coffees I can snag for free! I love your stories, seriously I do!

Qucifer said...

WOW this was so crazy... I mean the way she just was... I don't know ... almost right?/coherent?

Strongblkwmn said...

Sounds like someone who's been through some stuff. I like that you actually took the time to talk to her, and you only lost out on a dollar and not the twenty the other guys gave. LOL!

Opinionated Diva said...

the mcdonald's of shelters (isn't such a bad idea)...she might be "off", but she's probably smarter than half the people I work with.

watch out now...when she gets her house, she's going to come looking for you! lol

Raven said...

WOW!!!! Alrighty then!!!




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