Bill Roper (billroper) wrote,
Bill Roper
billroper

Lunch Break

So I went down to Hot Dog Island to grab some lunch. As I was waiting in line, a homeless woman came in the door and asked if she could use the restroom. Alyse, the owner's daughter, told her to go ahead. I would normally sit facing away from the restroom, but this would have meant that I wouldn't be able to see where the homeless woman was, so I decided to face toward the restroom instead. I admit that this was mostly prompted by the fact that she smelled really bad and I was afraid that some of whatever substance was producing the smell might end up on me if she brushed against me on the way out, since I would have been sitting near the door.

The homeless woman spent a very long time in the restroom. When she came out, she stopped in the hallway and spent some substantial time picking at something on her face or in her hair that she saw reflected in the glass of a framed picture. Then she asked for a cup of water, which they gave her. She asked if she could put sugar in the water, which they told her she could. And about a minute later, she left.

She was very sad looking and didn't seem very well at all. She had a CTA transfer clutched in her hand that I suspect she had picked up from where a rider had discarded it. The sweat pants that she wore were ragged at the bottom and made it impossible to tell whether she was wearing shoes, or perhaps socks, as they brushed against the floor. I felt a bit guilty reading my paper and continuing to eat my lunch as she left. God knows that I can spare a meal.

A few minutes after the homeless woman left, Alyse looked in the restroom. Not only had it been left a mess, but all of the toilet paper -- the available roll and what had been in the cabinet -- were gone. Alyse went to look for the homeless woman, but she was long out of sight.

Alyse spent about fifteen minutes cleaning up the restroom.

And it will probably be a very long time before a homeless person uses that restroom again.
Tags: musings
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