Sun 18 Oct 2009
At 6am my husband greeted me on my way to the bathroom. He had been sleeping on the couch but had his laptop open. My new found, pregnancy-induced, snoring problem had provoked him to find new places to sleep. We embraced before I shivered out of his arms and into the bathroom. Sleeping has become so strange, challenging in a bizarre way, unlike any insomnia or apnea I’ve ever faced. “What’s wrong?” I asked him on my way back. “Are you sleeping here?” “Oh, I’m just around,” he said. And I went back to bed.
When I got up at 7:30am, Josh was still on the couch with his laptop open. He stood up to greet me. I asked, “What’s wrong? I know something is wrong.” Josh smiled sheepishly, “Well, there’s a drunk guy sleeping on our porch.” “What? No way,” I said. “Really? What? Wait…he has to go! Did you call the police? He needs to leave…I’m pregnant.” Josh explained that the fellow seemed harmless and that he was keeping an eye on him. “I think it’s best if he just sleeps it off,” Josh said wisely. I went to the bathroom feeling disturbed. “Where’s our camera?” Josh asked. “I want to take a picture of him while he’s sleeping.”
When I came to the living room, Josh was peering out the window, “Look! He’s getting up and leaving.” Sure enough…the drunken man was swaying his way down our steps and down the front yard. We half expected him to go across the street where all the day laborers live but instead he walked up the street. “Follow him!” I said, “If he lives nearby that explains everything.” Josh threw on shoes and disappeared out the back door into the rainy, dark, morning. I sat waiting for him, tired and floating on the strange cloud that is pregnancy in the third trimester.
When Josh returned he explained it to me: At 5am he heard all sorts of banging around. When he investigated he found a very drunk, heavily hiccuping, man rearranging our porch furniture. He watched as the fellow carefully stacked all of our plastic chairs, folded the plastic table neatly and placed it next to the pile. Then he rearranged everything, pulled apart the stack, then put it all back together, perching the table on the top. After admiring his work, he took both of our doormats and laid them out like a little bed, curled up on top of them, and fell asleep. The first thought was that he was from across the street and thought that this was his house. Or maybe he was at a party and he couldn’t make it home. “When I followed him, he was walking purposely away from the neighborhood…I don’t think he’s from around here. Or maybe he is…it’s a mystery.”
I made Josh examine the front porch for any signs of urination or vomit. It came out clean. Then we reassessed the situation. Should the police have been called? If it had been me who found a drunk man rearranging our porch furniture at 5am in the morning, most certainly. But Josh was relaxed about the whole situation. “I dealt with so many drunk men in Brazil,” He said. “Most of the time they’re so out of it that they’re really no threat at all. You should have heard the sound of this guy’s hiccups! I just hung out in the living room and kept an eye on him.” Wow. Josh also said he knew if he confronted the fellow it would be kinda messy and loud. “I didn’t want to wake you up,” He said reasonably. “I’m actually surprised this sort of thing hasn’t happened sooner,” I admitted. “If it becomes a regular thing then, yes, we’ll call the police next time,” Josh promised.
That evening we came back from our amazing co-ed baby shower exhausted and happy. I went straight to our front window and checked our front porch. No sleeping drunk man. I even checked this morning. Nothing. Just a figment, a strange experience, rare but strangely typical of the south side.