Gutsy Gutterpup (June ’05)

So, I’ve often thought myself to have a bit of a morbid imagination… my mother tells me it’s just that I’m a creative soul. I’ve often wondered how I’d react to a horrendous scene in an elevator when the doors open. Well, I can tell you EXACTLY how I would react… now that I’ve been scared to near heart attack! While it’s not really “horrendous”… it was starting to look that way right from the start.

Around 5:45 am everyday I pull into the parking garage at work… and as usual, today I’m the first person to park on the lowest level of our mostly underground parking garage. I call the elevator… and the doors slowly start to open (the doors on this particular lift are slow as molasses)… and there is a body on the floor of the elevator. I jump back out of fear that something is horribly wrong! But as the doors open all the way it appears a transient is curled up in a ball in the fetal position (confirmed by the foul smell slapping me in the face). I cannot keep myself from gasping, stepping backwards and then screaming…

Keep in mind – this is all happening in slow motion… right?! As I scream the body still isn’t moving. The doors are slowly closing and for a split second I wonder if the person is even breathing. Then the lifeless body (and my brain) jolts like an earthquake… it rolls over and I see a woman probably in her late 20s or early 30s – who looks much older than that. She is barefoot, wearing grimy jeans and a sweatshirt… with hair that looks like it hasn’t been washed in months.

She crawls out of the elevator on her hands and knees, mumbling something unintelligible and I am still walking backwards out of shock. I seem to remember very loudly finding the words “You should probably go somewhere else!” and yelling them at her! She’s still mumbling. I think I was a broken record at this point. And because I’m yelling at her she starts walking faster and faster towards me… Of course I’m aware of the fact that there aren’t many other people in the garage this early in the morning, that my cell phone doesn’t work this far underground, that even IF there WAS a security guard on site he probably wasn’t close enough to help me if this person goes ballistic… and I’m certainly not entering the stair well if this is what I find in the elevator!

Back to what’s happening w/ the vagrant… she’s walking faster and faster towards me… my pace picks up and I decide the best thing to do is to turn around and walk up the three levels of the parking lot. I set out walking straight across the parking lot towards the nearest SAFE exit, looking over my shoulder (I am still yelling at her “You should probably go somewhere else!”). She’s yelling back at me! Quite the sight, I’m sure! She followed me up a level and a half (it may have even been two levels) and finally she quit following me. I’m sure she went to hide in another corner of the parking garage… I’m wondering who she alarmed next.

Yes, yes… I reported the problem to my Facilities manager… and even to our Human Resources dept. Apparently she and a male companion have been hanging around in our welcoming garage for the past several weeks.

I have to admit… part of me wanted to hit her… part of me wanted to hug her… part of me wanted to bring food back down to her… part of me wanted to call the police to drag her away for being a public nuisance (what’s police talk for “drunk in public”?)… part of me wanted to drive her to a shelter and give her a chance to get a shower and get her hair combed…

Needless to say, if I’ve made it inside and can post my blog… then I’m safe. And as I lay down to sleep I will have a roof over my head… and I will be wondering where she passes out tonight…

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