This Saturday a couple of us went to the Noise Magazine's 27th Anniversary party at the Cantab Lounge. There's a lot of stories born of this night - but i'll focus in on some prime overheard interaction with the transients of Central Square.
We had gone to dinner at The Tavern on the Square in central - i was feeling a bit out of sorts after a very late night the night before - and after dinner we went ourside to sit on a bench and plan the course of action -my companions were spooked by a couple of loud, aggressively drunken bums sitting on the sidewalk a few feet behind us and wanted to head out for another drink before heading into the cantab - but me being a fresh air junky - i wanted just to sit and chill in the nice cool air on one of the mass ave benches before heading down to Club Bohemia. i wasn't afraid of ranting bums.
So they headed off and i settled in to read a magazine, sip a coffee and breath the fall air.
Things were fine for the first half hour or so. reading reviews of local albums i'd never heard on the pages of the noise. until i overheard the bums conversation take a turn -they were talking about the fact that the street belonged to them - and that the pedestrians should pay the bums a toll since it was their street and the 'straights' were jsut passing through. sort of made sense to me. but During one of my inattentive spells the conversation must have taken a turn towards toll enforcement.
i didn't particurly feel alarmed when the drunks who could barely stand jabbered away over my shoulder about enforcing their possession of the street with threats of pysical violence - ie. they could barely stand. but all of a sudden one of them said - yeah well i don't have to kick ass - i've got this gun. and the other two said "joey put that fuckin thing away" - which was enough to convince me that the guy so drunk he could barely stand sitting on the sidewalk 10 feet behind me - probably did have a real gun on him.
now i don't know what it says about me, my level of lazyness vs. my level of live and let live or lack of concern for other people's safety... but my reaction to the immenent threat to public well being sitting in his own stench behind me wasn't to intervene, or call the cops, or tell anyone else about it. it was just to get up, calmly stretch, and calmly walk from my bench in front of the catab a fourth of a block down to the bench in front of rodney's books. i am a real hero.
i sat down by rodney's reading - but by then was getting cold. i was just about to decide to relocate to the 1369 or something when the bums came shambling down the street and occpied the bench next to me. Knowing enough about street drunks to know that booking away at that point would rouse their interest, i sat calmly and continued reading.
after a few minutes my time was up and they decided i was worth talking to. And what did the gun toting, toll charging, enforcer of the street want to talk about? he said - "hey! how are you doing.?" i said i'm doing great! he replied with what seemed like genuine interest and concern "how about your bowels? are they ok? they're the most important thing."
i never answered him as i was laughing so hard and couldn't stop myself from shaking his hand as i got up and walked away.