Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Homeless Hero

Making it through a Saturday without the help of Diana is hard. Very hard. By midday, I’m usually in full yell mode and the house is typically on fire.

But last Saturday, I decided to take the degree of difficulty up several hundred notches. By taking both boys to a friends’ Oktoberfest party across town. Via the bus. This is the juggling equivalent of going from one rubber ball to ten flaming axes while riding a unicycle on a high wire. And the high wire is on fire. And the unicycle is on fire.

Almost immediately after strapping Luca to my chest and shoving Elijah out the door I realized I was making a huge mistake. It took us 10 minutes to make it past our neighbor’s front door (see my post on Lollygaggers).

After completing my transition from brown to grey hair, we arrived at the bus stop. The only person in line was a massive, bearded homeless guy. He was as big as a house and in full catatonic mode. Elijah attempted to strike up conversation. “Hi. I Eli!” But the man just stared straight ahead, listening to the secret telepathic messages being beamed into his brain by the local squirrel population.

I looked down the street. No sign of the bus for miles and miles. Eli could sense that there would be a wait because he started acting like a goof ball. He started running around this big green transformer thing and playing “Hide From Daddy.”

And with 100 pounds of Luca strapped to my chest, I couldn’t keep up. He’d zig, I’d zag. I began to panic because we were at the intersection of two of the busiest streets in Evanston.

Suddenly, Eli bolted for the street.

I shouted, “Freeze!” But Eli kept running with a full head of steam. He had a good three steps on me.

Just as he reached the curb, a massive paw stopped him in his tracks. The catatonic homeless guy had snapped out of it and physically prevented Eli from living out my worst nightmare.

I snatched Eli, turned to the homeless guy and gushed, “Thank you thank you thank you, homeless guy. I reaaaaaally appreciate it.”

But the homeless guy had already snapped back into catatonic mode. He wouldn’t acknowledge me or Eli, despite Eli’s mimicking of my gratitude, “Tank you man. Tank you.”

We eventually got on the bus and the homeless guy started raving to the bus driver. I kind of wanted to tell the driver that the homeless guy had just saved my son’s life. But like all people who fear conflict, I quietly pretended to adjust Luca’s collar while he was tossed from the bus.

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