Monday, November 11, 2013

Danse Macabre

The consensus here is that this is a sick building, or at least it is among those whom I've spoken with. A building people crawl into to die, save for those who get thrown out and the occasional person who moves on to grander things.

I've been here for four years and three months, and in that span of time I know of seven people who have died. That's 1.61 cadavers per annum: four from the fourth floor, two the third, and one the second floor I currently live on. None of the Faifield fatalities is female; each of them was a male, ranging in age from the late-forties to the mid-seventies, the median age probably being somewhere in the mid- to late-fifties. All of them were Caucasian, one of them a Latino; being that I live in White City most of the people who move into this place are white, with only a handful of black people thrown in to put some color into the local demographics — ratios that are reflected in the mortality statistics, naturally. The guy who just recently died was from the fourth floor and lived in this building with two brothers, each of them at first living on a different floor, until Pablo moved down here from the third floor (like I did!) ... now there's some statistics for you! What are the odds of that occurring? Sleazy C (I called him) died of liver failure in an ambulance en route from the hospital to some kind of care facility, the poor bastard. His brothers are sure to follow suit withing the next ten years, I figure; a lady who works at the corner store called the three of them the Booze Brothers. I used to chuckle every day I heard the ol' Sleazeball staggering past my door, usually yelling at his brother whose room he left behind him or the elevator he was having problems operating. All but one of the seven people who have passed on while I've been living here died either from alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose or from a condition directly caused by lifelong substance abuse.

No, I wasn't dwelling on this somber bit of business all Veterans Day. I just figured it would be more interesting than hearing about the meatloaf and mashed potatoes I ate at a nearby church and how I didn't know the public library was open until shortly before it closed. One thing that does spring to mind when I reflect on the Reaper's nigh-tangible presence here is that I desperately need to eke more out of my days, lest they become a blur that eventually resolves itself into a gurney ride down the brightly lit hallway ... and, suddenly I'm wondering where all the time went. Of course, this is one of the last places I want to die in, but whether I do or not really isn't as important as the quality of life I have to gaze wistfully on as I slip, lurch, or am yanked into oblivion. "Youth is wasted on the young," indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, the abbreviated life-span of the down n' out SRO-dweller. A fate to be avoided. *hug*

    “Drinking is an emotional thing. It joggles you out of the standardism of everyday life, out of everything being the same. It yanks you out of your body and your mind and throws you against the wall. I have the feeling that drinking is a form of suicide where you're allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. It's like killing yourself, and then you're reborn. I guess I've lived about ten or fifteen thousand lives now.”
    ― Charles Bukowski