I wrote this the first night without sleep: I’m now two and a half days without sleep.
Street Life Rule # 324 – Never Argue With Crazy People
And when I say “crazy” I’m talking about the full blow hallucinating and fixated schizophrenic type.
It’s like trying to have a discussion with a drunk – no good will ever come of it. It’s best to avoid them.
You might think he’s looking at you and talking to you, but in his mind, he does not see you, and is not really talking to you. He sees and is talking to his hallucination, of which you are only the anchor. At this point he has mixed his hallucination with reality, and there is no rationalizing or reasoning with him. He doesn’t really see you or even hear you, he only sees and hears his hallucination. There’s a good chance he sees you as a threat. and If he gets himself worked up enough, he will react to thta threat he perceives within you. Of course, most of the time, if you just ignore him,, his fixation on you will dissipate and his hallucination will transform to another subject, , much like the subject matter of dreams shifting from one random thing to the next. Sometimes that doesn’t happen and you should be prepared for it.
At the corner of 9th and C St, where, for the past several months i had been setting up my tent. By no means was this location ideal, but it was better than any other place I had tried. One of my neighbors who sleeps in the unused side doorway of the YWCA, is one such schizophrenic – prone to having screaming fits in the middle of the night, sometimes changing his voice to that of a female who screams rape. All of that doesn’t bother me, but lately he has become more fixated on me personally. He’s been making random comments about me and my tent. He has become increasingly irritated with me camping at that location.
Last night, as I neared my camping spot, I noticed his silloette as he walked across the street to the side I was on. That was the first time I’d seen him move from the spot where he sleeps – not a good sign. I could also hear him slapping his hands together. It was not the sound of clapping but more of the motion a person makes as they are threatening to punch someone. Once on my side of the street, he hide between cars in a parking lot, and after I passed by he reemerged and began stalking me from behind. Each time that I looked back at him, he was a bit closer. Never saying anything, he kept slapping his hands together.
When I got to the spot where I set up the tent I looked over to see he was still eyeballing me, now from just across the street. This was not a time for any cordialities. I needed to leave and quickly. I took the scissors from my pocket and kept them in my hand as I continued to walk away, pushing my cart along as I went. The slapping noise stopped when I was a block away. Still I kept walking. The only though I had at that moment was, “where am I going to set up camp and sleep now?”
Eventually I made it to the 24 hour restroom facilities at the civic center and took a piss. It was about 12:30am. This area is popular with many homeless because of the restrooms there – a number of homeless people hang out around there, the majority of which are mentally ill, and hearing voices types. They pace all night long on the sidewalk. Sleep is not easy for them to achieve either. I noticed that there seemed to be more people here than usual. Then I remember that someone recently asked me about the homeless population downtown, if I’d notice any increase. I hadn’t really paid all that much attention before, but from what I had seen recently, I’d say there was definitely an increase in the population, but by how much I could not say.
A Couple Observations. There are a lot more seriously mentally ill people living on the streets in San Diego than Nashville, though pretty much on par with Las Vegas. Also the turn around rate for the homeless in San Diego is much higher. In Nashville you get to know the homeless for a while first, before they start disappearing. In San Diego, every night is a brand new batch of crazy homeless people. Where they go after their first night I don’t know, but I rarely see them a second time.