Friday, March 20, 2009

Walking With Ron 2

Ron... how shall I put this... has a tendency to procrastinate on some issues.
For instance, the purpose of last Saturday's walk was for me to help him get a loan on his gold ring. The reason he needed me to help was because Ron continuously puts off going down to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get either a driver's license, or a state issued I.D. He says he's going to do it on Monday... always a Monday for some reason, and he's said that for three years. Now there happens to be many pawn shops here downtown, and they all require a driver's license or a state issued I.D. in order to get a loan. Ron has a Veteran's Administration I.D., as do I, but apparently that's not good enough for pawn shops.
Now I happen to have a state issued I.D. I would never consider walking around without one. So whenever Ron runs a little short on cash he needs me to pawn his ring for him. We do this on a monthly basis. I know all of the employees at Ace Pawn Company exceptionally well, and they know and welcome me, all because of Ron's gold ring.
So at eleven I walked over the short distance to the Hippie Kitchen, where the hippies were busy handing out beans and salad. And pre-buttered bread. I didn't see Ron when I first got there, so I grabbed a plate and began eating my breakfast. It wasn't long before I saw Ron's skinny ass goofy looking bald head above the crowd. He wasn't eating breakfast today. He walked up to me and said, "I'm going to get some peroxide. Wait a minute."
I continued eating. Ron walked over to the door where peroxide and vitamins were handed out to those who wanted them. He came back, saying "Let's get outta here."
Ron has a tendency to the authoritarian. He's always telling me which way to go when we're walking, as if I couldn't get around without his advice. His routes are invariably the most circuitous and round about that one could imagine. That is, I think, due to the simple fact that Ron likes to walk. I don't mind walking, and try to do so for thirty minutes a day, but I don't like to walk anywhere near as much as Ron does.
When I first moved into my box, which Ron helped me get, by the way, I walked with Ron every Saturday morning as he made "his rounds." Today was very much like those walks.
Ron works at a local community service organization, so he works closely with the people of Skid Row, and he lives within it's boundaries. So he knows like everyone around here. We can't walk a block without Ron passing by someone he knows, and says hello to. Today was no exception.
As soon as we turned the corner of the Hippie Kitchen we met Anne, who Ron has known for a very long time.
Anne must hold the record for being arrested for living in a camping tent on the sidewalk. She been arrested over 30 times, and may face some serious time for these infractions if she doesn't stop. But she doesn't stop. People get used to living a certain way and it's difficult for them to change. Ron has a friend named Frank, who likes to be called Terry, a fellow veteran, who has continuously lived on the streets of downtown Los Angeles for 30 years. Ron had him stay over at his place one night and Terry was so nervous and jittery that he could not sleep indoors and had to leave.
Ron said hello to Anne, and then we ran into Tall James, and Ron told him about how the demons attacked him (see the previous post "Demons").
Now I happen to know Tall James as well. Another veteran, who lives in a nearby SRO (Single Room Only) hotel. So I said hello to. Ron and I call him Tall James to distinguish him from Ron's boss, whose name happens to be James, and because... well, he's tall.
Ron had gone to the VA hospital in Westwood the previous Friday to see the dentists there. So the Veteran's Administration has been infiltrated by the demons. And Ron let them get to him.
"For one and a half hours they had me in that chair!" Ron was telling Tall James. "One and a half hours! Three of them working on me!"
Ron had had a tooth that was bothering him for a long time. The pain got to the point where he couldn't procrastinate about it any further, so he went to the demons. The VA demons will examine almost every veteran for free, but that's about all they'll do unless the veteran is rated with a 100% service connected disability.
So they got Ron in the chair, finally identified the correct tooth, and told him he needed a crown.
"Okay, put one in," Ron told them.
"Well let's check your record," the head demon told him. "Ah, you're only 40 percent connected. We can't put in a crown unless you're one hundred percent."
"What can you do?"
"W can pull it," the demon stated gleefully.
And this is when Ron made a great mistake.
He said, "Go ahead and do it."
Then they pounced.

To be continued.

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