He called me “Mother” as I walked past.


This week I overhead a couple of one-way conversations in transit.  Sometimes I listen in to the world they’re externalizing, the one they’ve created for themselves, and I wonder who the audience is supposed to be.

Man at Hollywood/Vine

Am I in the middle of a performance piece?  He called me “Mother” as I walked past.  He was looking for Father.  They did not want him.  I’m not sure about this talking man.  He’s got a yellow tan with a touch of grease.  He’s fully audible to the rest of the Sunday night station folk.  There’s a trash bag of his belongings on the floor to his left.

There was a chain reaction of ignorance coming from the other people waiting to go Downtown.   He was in a squeezebox match with himself, his voice in puberty tones.

“He’s not that guy!”

“Surprise, surprise!” followed by sounds of pouting.

“I’m not stupid,” followed by accusatory tones of a reenactment.

He slinked on the train to North Hollywood.

Woman on Sunset Blvd.

Wednesday night during rush hour, a black woman got on with two full linen shopping bags at Alvarado.  She wore a white, rigid headband and had a particular regard.  She had a dreadlock or two, and her conversation was measured and sparse.  Her madness was casual.  Keep it casual.

“You try but all these people ’round here want egg rolls.  How bout a nice peach, peach cobbler? Or a ham and cheese?”

I agreed in wonder.  Where could you get a nice peach cobbler, at some secret diner in Mid City?

“My skin is no good.”

She got off at Vermont, going who knows where into the evening.  She exited in flip flop sandals.  She had a Roman toe on her right foot folded over like a crossed finger, a woman a little off-balance from the get-go.

It gets me thinking, especially on the days when the raw heartbreak walks past you, realized in the form of a grown man or woman asking for handouts.  How much misfortune does it take before a facade becomes more than just a facade, and instead becomes a vocalized, tangible extension of our personalities?  These pieced together quotes from these mentally ill (and perhaps homeless) commuters reminds me that it wouldn’t be too tough.

One thought on “He called me “Mother” as I walked past.

  1. depression nation says:

    from a buddhist perspective we’ve all been recycled so many many times that every being on the planet has been the mother to every other at least once. our pains are shared, our recovery equally important.

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