I’m walking home from work past Couch Park, a normal hangout for neighbors and homeless people. An old black man in an electric wheelchair starts talking to me. I have no idea what he said, so I ask him to repeat it.
Man: “Do you know anything about boxes?”
Me: “Um. No?” I look around and see a shopping cart filled with cardboard boxes behind him. I ask, “Cardboard boxes?”
Man: ” No, no, NO. Boxes, you know!”
Me: Inching away confused.
Man: “Please help me with the box.” He points to his wheelchair
Me: I get closer and ask, “Your wheelchair? I’m not sure I can help.”
Man: “No, the box. Right here.” Points toward his feet/crotch.
Me: I lean in a bit and look toward his feet and feel like I know where this is going and it is nowhere good.
Man: Waves a remote control around. “No no no. In the front.”
Me: Walking around to the front of the wheelchair, I see a boombox under the man’s feet. I ask, “This box?”
Man: Looking at me like I am a complete and utter idiot he says, “Yes.”
Me: After a brief investigation, I realize his CD has finished playing. I ask the man if he would like me to restart the CD. He says yes. I press play. Very loud 80s hip hop bursts from the stereo and I back away startled. The man looks satisfied and I figure he can handle it from here. A few homeless people sitting around seem to be enjoying the music.