Disturbing scene this morning. I was walking down from my campsight, looking for a place to wash up and get coffee, when I passed this guy, this white guy around my age, and fairly straight looking. What caught my attention was, he was shouting to himself. I couldn’t make out what he was shouting, so at first I figured he was just another Berkeley wingnut. He kinda’ reminded me of this guy I used to see all the time when I was on the streets of San Francisco, this guy who used to walk around all day cursing at himself and slapping himself in the face until his face was beet-red (I guess you could say that guy had “issues”).
Anyways, as the guy was walking and shouting he would stomp his foot on the ground, and then crouch down for a second like he was doubled-over in pain. He wasn’t shouting very loudly. It was that kind of teeth-clenched, fists-clenched kind of shouting where you’re on the verge of hysteria and doing whatever you can to try and restrain yourself, but just barely. He kept shouting the same thing over and over. Finally I was able to catch what he was shouting:
“PLEASE HELP ME!! PLEASE HELP ME!”
I stood there and watched him as he walked on down the street. I guess what was disturbing was, I’ve felt that way many, many times in my life. That I desparately needed help but there was no one there who could help me.
I felt an urge to run after him and give him a hug, or offer him some money, ANYTHING that would ease his load. But of course I didn’t. As I walked on down the road I couldn’t help wondering what his problem was. Had he just experienced some terrible tragedy? Was he in excruciating physical pain? Had he just lost everything, his job, his home, his wife? Who knows. There are so many things that can bring a man to his knees. There is no end to the pain and suffering that can be inflicted on a human being. I often think: “This world is driving me CRAZY!! (and its not a very far drive)”
And it sort of confirmed something that I sort of suspect. That society is breaking down. And people are cracking up along with it. Society is collapsing. And its collapsing on real people. I hope I’m wrong. But I kept thinking about that guy periodically through the course of the day and wondering what it all meant.