Last Monday I was on my way to meet up with a friend for dinner when I came across Doug near the corner of 7th and E in Penn Quarter. He was sitting on top of a hard suitcase, the small kind that you see flight crews carry all the time. Next to him was a larger suitcase with a bag on top. Tied to the handle of the large suitcase was a cardboard sign which read, “Travel funds needed. Extreme Duress. Borderline Crippled Due to illegal Activity on ME.”
I first walked by him and then stopped to check my watch. I was supposed to meet up for dinner at 7:30, it was now 7:20. What the heck, I went back and introduced myself and gave him my $10.
I can’t say that I know too much more about Doug after chatting with him for 15 minutes. Although he talked a lot, he told me very little. Most of my questions went unanswered and often he just spiraled into long-winded rants about injustices that he has suffered, the details of which he didn’t care to share.
“I am a semi-long term resident of greater Seattle,” he told me.
According to Doug, he came out here a little over a year ago with the intention on staying for just one month so that he could “get done what I came here to do.” He kept referring to doing everything in his power to legally make things right. I probed again about what he was trying to do and he shifted into a rant on how some people take advantage of others.
“I bet some people would intentionally trip the blind just to hurt them, you know?” “If a blind person were to walk by here I bet some people would try to trip’em just to hurt’em, you know what I mean?” Getting nowhere, I tried to go back and focus on more basic questions like his age.
“Well, how old do I look?”
I tried to dodge that question myself. I finally answered that I thought he was in his 50s. He said, “Well that’s not too bad, not after what I have been through.”
I told him that I was interested in knowing more about that and he replied, “I don’t want to get into details.”
He did tell me that he planned to use the money to buy some food that night and some coffee and breakfast in the morning. Who knows though, he clearly has some issues and I am not sure I got a single straight answer out of him.
I knew that he wasn’t going to allow me to photograph or videotape him, but I figured I had nothing to lose right? He said he didn’t want to be in any photos, but agreed to me taking a picture of his sign.
He continued to rant about things that made very little sense.
I waited until he paused for a second and then told him I needed to head on my way and extended my hand toward him. He said he couldn’t shake my hand as his was full of fractured bones. We left it at that.