Thursday, June 28, 2012

the "i was attacked by a schizophrenic homeless man with a knife" story.


so many blogging possibilities.

three days left in the challenge.

not a very exciting day.

i can obviously blog about the olympic swimming trials, because right now swimming is like, my whole life.

i mean, i coach the sport. and i sure as hell know more than the announcer dan hicks.

"it takes really great flexilibity to be able to side breathe!"

dan, i've been side breathing for years, and i can't touch my toes to save my life. nor can i bend my back in just about any position conducive to living.

while i'm watching the trials, my mom is talking about how she loves watching the breaststroke legs. you know, what i call "froggy kicks!" to the little kids. and she says, "goodness, emily, their knees don't come apart!"

and i go into a long detailed analysis about how all of your power comes from the snapping part of your kick, which involves the knees being together. i offer to show her on the floor.

so she lies down on the floor, and i grab her ankles like i do with my little kids, and i'm doing the whole "up/out/arooooound" mantra and her feet snap onto the bow of my shirt.

her toes unravel my bow. boom.

my mother's breaststroke kick may or may not have pulled down my tube top a little bit.

and i'm wearing a tube top because today, in fort wayne INDIANA, it was a hundred and six degrees.

the wrath of god has been blazing from the sky.

so after this all goes down and my mom is lying on the floor giggling and i'm thinking about how much actual breaststroke involves incredible long axis undulation, my mom says i should blog about this.

technically, now i have.

i tell her, "but mom, i was going to blog about the time that i was attacked by a schizophrenic homeless man who had a knife."

please tell me you're intrigued.


when i was in high school, i was in my church youth group. the summer i turned seventeen, it was mission trip summer.

every four years we have NYC. every MIDDLE four years we have a mission trip.

we spent a long time deciding where wanted to go. i was all for going out of the country, or at least to a state that i haven't been to, which is kind of difficult, because i've been to forty-one.

apparently, the last time my youth group went out of the country, things didn't turn out so well. there's a story about a bus and some mountains and it reminded me of the book "walk two moons" and pretty much the only CSI episode i've ever seen, and i wasn't too keen on that.

we settled with los angeles.

but emily, what goes down in los angeles?

homeless people. that's what's up in LA.

LA has a place called skid row, smack downtown. it's about five blocks.

that five blocks, at any given time, can have up to ten thousand homeless people.

you've read that correctly. TEN THOUSAND HOMELESS IN FIVE BLOCKS.

we were going to work soup kitchens, help out in shelters, clean up a camp, have a day off at santa monica beach, paint a salvation army, and on our last day, we ventured onto skid row at night.

general skid row rules.

1. if you're a girl, you stick with a man.
2. do not approach anyone that looks dangerous.
3. always have a car with a friend follow you.
4. do not accept anything from anyone.
5. always wear close toed shoes, the ground is covered in needles, urine, and feces.

i don't want this to be melodramatic. but walking through skid row, los angeles, at night, when the homeless come to life, was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

it was also one of the most terrible. i saw a woman smoking a crack pipe in a potra-potty. i saw homeless toddlers sleeping in shopping carts.

i stepped over a dead body.

time to lighten the mood. but when people say "there are starving children in africa!", i say, "there are plenty of starving people here too."

so. lightening the mood.

right. we have a red-eye flight, because that's cheap, and we're flying back in time. my very good friend sam that has a bromance with my brother, has never flown before, and he's terrified. we leave indy to fly straight to LAX at like, eleven at night. sam is so nervous he falls asleep. i drain the battery on my zune (ha. yes. i had a zune.) before we get there.

we get there at like... one in the morning. four in the morning fort wayne time.

we're picked up by gilbert romero, pastor of the church that we're staying at. we're going to east LA. shady LA. scary-ish LA. LA where you stick out if you're a white girl. but being the only white person at a 7/11 is another story for another post.

it's an hour drive to east LA, and we have to set up camp in the church. we have cots, and i pick the one next to my cousin/sister. we fall asleep six fort wayne time, three LA time.

wake up is in three hours. and we have a full day of fun christian mission work! YAY! god's work never sleeps!

first order of business: an outdoor soup kitchen smack in the middle of skid row.

i forget the name of it, maybe it was the jungle cafe? but there were beautiful murals of the jungle all over the walls. the back of it opened to a big courtyard where hundreds of homeless could congregate and eat. most of my group worked in the kitchen.

i was in the courtyard, behind a little hotdog stand. at my hotdog stand, i had a bottle of ketchup, some mustard, and a giant salt and pepper shaker.

i was alone in the courtyard at my little hotdog stand. my job was to pour condiments onto people's food.

the morning passed quickly enough, considering i hadn't slept. i was meeting new and wonderful people, and they were just so happy that i was putting condiments on their beans and salads. honestly, it just made my heart soar, knowing how happy i was making these people by dumping ketchup on their salad.

and then our schizophrenic friend showed up.

he definitely wasn't the first schizophrenic person i'd encountered that morning, but he was the most obvious. he was wandering around the courtyard with his food, twitching and shouting obscenities at thin air. it looked like someone was following him. he was small guy, only about five four, and really skinny and muscular. he smelled like urine (most of the people here did) and he had a graying afro.

he spotted me. and the condiments. he wanted some condiments.

i asked him if he wanted me to put the condiments on for him, or if he wanted to do it himself.

he told me he wanted to do it himself, and then he began to scream "BITCH BITCH BITCH BITCH" in a very high pitched manner, swatting at something.

i'm trying to keep it cool. there's nobody around except for other homeless, eating their salads and having a great time in the courtyard, getting their free meal. i'm a seventeen year old white girl in a spelling bee shirt and a baseball cap running on two hours of sleep.

he grabs the pepper. starts shaking it. he's shaking it hard, harder than i like. i'm focusing on the calm. i'm holding the ketchup, thinking maybe i can help him.

he starts shouting about how the pepper isn't coming out fast enough. he needs more pepper. i start to tell him that i can open the pepper more when suddenly he pulls a six inch knife out of his gym shorts.

a six inch knife.

now i'm starting to panic. this guy is definitely mentally usntable and he has a knife. there is nobody here to help me. i'm still holding the ketchup.

he takes the knife and attacks the pepper lid, you know, with the pokey holes. he's just attacking it, wrenching this knife through it, ripping it open. then he turns it upside down onto his salad and the entire bottle floods out onto it, making this huge pepper cloud.

he drops his salad and starts screaming "FUCKING RUINED MY SALAD! FUCK FUCK FUCK MY SALAD!"

and then he attacks me.

don't get too worried, dear reader. he didn't slash my face. or eat it, like miami guy. he ran at me with the knife, i may or may not have screamed, he ran into the hotdog stand, and before he could do anything other than brandish the knife in my face and shout obscenities, the owner of the soup kitchen grabbed him and threw him outside.

and thus, emily, our intrepid blogger, was attacked by a schizophrenic homeless man with a knife.

it's always cool when i'm like, oh hey did i tell you about that time i got attacked by a homeless guy with a knife and everybody is like, OH MY GOD NO TELL ME ABOUT IT and i'm like, oh hey it went down like this

and then everybody just kind of gets disappointed.

it was too fast, my life didn't flash before my eyes or anything. but there was a six inch knife in my face, and my only weapon was a bottle of ketchup.

i could teach ketchup defense lessons.

except... i never actually defended myself with said ketchup.

the rest of the week went without incident, unless you count the homeless kid that bit me at daycare when we were playing twister.

i also sneezed fifty-four times in a row while we were cleaning out a cabin in the mountains.

i bet you haven't sneezed that many times in a row. i thought my head was going to pop off.

so ends my thrilling tale. i'll leave you with a picture of my youth group after we painted the inside of a salvation army women's shelter.

i'm in the red shorts and black top. that's my brother next to me with the
big orange N. :)

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