My office is a block away from Slum Depot East, also known as Crack Central, and Fredella Avenue. We are on the main route to the grocery store, the liquor store, the bus stop, the hospital, and the library. However, so far I have not seen one person walk back to the Depot with a book. Unless it was in a bag with the breakfast brew.
We have our regular passers-by:
The Man in Black: He wears all black, all the time. He also screams obscenities at cars and small children, walks into traffic and, according to the local paper, enjoys exposing himself. The Man is very tall and thick, so I avoid eye contact at all cost if we happen to pass each other; he being on his way to...I don't know where, and me on my way back from a brownie run.
The Happy Couple: He is a tiny 120 pounds. She is 400+ and wheelchair bound, and yet he pushes her up and down the street once a day to the emergency room where she complains about her health. I'm pretty sure she puts out the cigarette before entering the hospital.
The Honker: He drove by in his beat up blue Mercury more than five times a day, blaring his horn. I think those anger management sessions finally started working, though, because I haven't seen/heard him in awhile.
The Early Risers: They walk by in their pjs at about 10am, groggy and stumbling. I see them 20 minutes later with breakfast in a bag (6-pack of Milwaukee's Best) and a little hitch in their step.
The Veteran: He's just trying to get a ride down to the VA hospital in Albany. I feel bad for this one, he has sad eyes.
The Hooker: Not to be confused with The Honker. I never thought I would know how to spot one if I saw one in real life, she made it easy. Stripper shoes away from the stripper pole is a clear indication.
The Skinny Santa: He has the bushy white beard and big red coat, but he is short and skinny...and not so jolly, especially after getting hit by a car last month. But don't worry. Santa had a good meal at the hospital and is back on the street. His bike, however, did not survive.
Then there are The Nomads. Random folks we see once or twice, then never again. I assume there is a quick turnaround at the Depot. You can't blame them for not wanting to put up a picket fence and call Fredella home.
I do actually work when I'm there, although, people watching is much more interesting. There's nothing like a daily reminder of how easily my situation could change to keep my mind on the job.