Thursday, April 24, 2008

nora being nora

I'm on a Facebook kick right now. 
I really got in to it when I was computerless. My iPhone has a Facebook application. All you have to do is touch the icon and updates about your friends pop right up. For instance I learned about Teresa's torn ACL there first. 

On Tuesday I typed in: "Nora is busy being Nora," and giggled wondering exactly what that meant. 

All too soon it became crystal clear. 

Our volunteer base is very diverse. It includes retired factory workers/farmers (my dad) and people doing court ordered community service. Throw in more retired people, a few high-school students doing school directed community service and folks with disabilities and you get quite a mix of humanity. 

J. is one of our perinnial court ordered community service guys. I first met him years ago when I worked at the downtown location of CATH coffeehouse. I'd let homeless folks stash their stuff behind the counter if they were out looking for jobs or a place to live, read my paper, use the phone and feed them juice and bananas. Can you imagine having to haul all your worldly possessions around in a trash bag while you're trying to straighten your life out? Anyway, J. was one of those guys. 

He's been trying to get organized enough to attend our job training class, but just can't quite get it together. J. came in smiling and telling anyone that would look at him, "I love Nora, she's so pretty, I can't believe she's single, blah, blah" 

He's good natured and very willing to help. And clearly has good taste. 

As the day went on his "I love Nora's" were getting even more inappropriate and louder. Around lunchtime it was pretty obvious that he was drunk. The director of volunteers asked me what to do and I said to clock him out and sign his papers. I wanted to try to get a meal in him before we tossed him out. Someone walked him out where he promptly laid down on in the parking lot and passed out. 

One of the volunteers told me he was out there. I went to try to talk to him. I very calmly explained that he needed to leave that he could not sleep in the parking lot and I was worried about him getting run over. He kept up with his "I love you's" and wanting to talk about baseball. I told J. that if he didn't get up I was going to have to call the police. 

I called the non-emergency number and they asked the usual questions: location, was I in danger, what was he wearing. I wanted to answer "duh" to the last question. All homeless men in Indianapolis seem to wear the same basic outfit. A plaid flannel shirt, dark pants, a truckers hat and black shoes. Then I realized that it also describes most of the musicians in town.

I went back out and stood next to J. to make sure he didn't get run over. He continued with his "I love you" chant. A policeman pulled up and parked across from us. As I was talking to him I saw a car coming from the other way out of the corner of my eye. The car was heading for J. I whipped around and jumped in front of the car and threw my arms out. It was another police car. The men got out laughing saying that they were not going to run over J. I told them that I was very protective of our volunteers and we all laughed. 

In the meantime J. had ramped up his litany of "I love Nora" from his spot, laying on the parking lot. The police asked me if I was Nora, and I detected that they were enjoying it just a little too much. Me, not so much. Here we were, three handsome men, me and J. They did comment that it was not often they were called to take care of something like this and the troublemaker was so nice to the person who called. 

I liked how they handled the situation. They made sure that J. didn't have any weapons and hung out until J. was sober enough that they could take him some where to get help. Taking him to jail would not have helped anything. The really sad thing is I think he'd been drinking mouth wash, and I hope he didn't get it at our place.

J. came back on Wednesday to get the stuff he'd left in the coatroom. He came in my office to tell me that I was one of the nicest people he'd ever met. I thanked him and told him that he was not welcome to come back. 

He left with an "I love you." 

I decided that that incident described "Nora being Nora" 

You just never know how the day will go. 


Jamie Dawn said...

You handled the whole situation with a great deal of patience and kindness.

Ralph said...

I'll say this - your life is not boring.

Kim said...

You are who you are, and we wouldn't have you any other way!


bad influence girl said...

Hey, I think I went out with J. once!

Cliff said...

I have read everything you wrote. You are in class by yourself. The family photo was so nice. Great smiles. Now, as for this blog...

I was embarrassed for all the Nebraska guys who did that to you when you came to visit. Now I see you have that problem wherever you go.
I love you Nora.
Sorry...I gotta go find a beer.

Tee said...

Agreed with Jamie Dawn and Ralph :)

Loved the realization that the clothing description was applicable to musicians. Hee hee.