We were talking about how crazy people with crazy minds can sometimes have strange mental powers. . . There’s this one crazy Berkeley tweaker chick. I’ve known her since she was a 17 year old runaway. I’d often see her panhandling on Shattuck Avenue. Completely nuts. All the meth she was slamming really took her brain to this strange place. This eerie occult realm. Sad. But she also had these weird kind of psychic powers.
Anyways, I got into the habit of giving her money as a birthday present every year. 19 dollars when she turned 19. 20 dollars when she turned 20. 21 dollars when she turned 21. And so on. I forget how that started. I think I did it because she was so self-destructive. I wanted to encourage her. Like: “Every time you make it through another year you get an extra dollar.” It was just a little symbolic thing I was doing.
So anyways, the year she turned 32 I was flat broke. Didn’t have any money. But I had food stamps. So I took her to 7-11 and told her: “Just buy up about 32 dollars worth of food.”
So she’s randomly grabbing stuff off the shelves. Some beef jerkies and soda and candy and sandwiches and potato chips and whatever. So I was vaguely stunned when the cashier rang up the bill and it came to exactly 32 dollars and 33 cents.
Now if it had come to $32.32, now THAT would have been really spooky.
* * *
I tried to help her, but she was hard to help. This one night I saw her huddled in a doorway on Shattuck in the pouring rain, freezing her ass off with nothing but this ratty, little blanket for warmth. So I gave her this really nice down sleeping bag I had. . . . The next day I noticed she had traded the sleeping bag to some guy for 20 bucks worth of meth. Oh well. At least she was warm for one night. Or at least feeling no pain.
Another night, same thing. She’s freezing in a doorway. So I offered her this really nice down jacket I had. It was not only an expensive jacket, it was warm as hell. It was like wearing a sleeping bag practically. And she was a small person and it was a small jacket, so I figured it wouldn’t fit anybody else on the scene, so she wouldn’t be able tor trade it away this time. But when I offered it to her she started screaming at me: “Get that thing AWAY from me!! I almost got KILLED this one time because of a jacket like THAT!!!”
Oh well. I’m sure it all made perfect sense on some alternate plane of reality.
Another time I spot her in a doorway and she’s writing away in this journal. Really concentrating hard like she’s working on a master thesis. I asked her what she was doing. She said: “I’ve decided to invent my own language with my own letters.” The page she was working on was covered with all these peculiar symbols and their corresponding definitions, which were equally peculiar. It almost sort of made sense.
She was a little peculiar, that one. Still is.