Thursday, February 20, 2020

Roy

Roy's Shoes and Coat
Roy (not his real name) is a well-known character in the small town I live in. He walks along the streets in running shoes with no socks or shoe laces. Even on days it snows. He used to not wear a coat in winter but has recently changed that.

Roy goes to Starbucks everyday so I see him there. He asks people coming through the drive through for money to pay for his coffee. Then he sits at a certain table, puts his coat on the floor next to him and sits and reads. He used to read the newspaper (without paying for it) but lately he's been reading the Bible. He's gone all the way through it at least once, from what I can tell.

Roy is a nice guy, very soft spoken. If someone is sitting at "his" table, he chooses another table. If someone picks up his coat, thinking it shouldn't be on the floor, he will politely take it from them and put it back. Sometimes he'll ask me what time it is. A few weeks ago I say "Hi Roy." And he said "I can't believe it's going to get colder" (which was the weather forecast at the time). That's about the most lucid conversation I've had with him.

Roy obviously has some mental health issues. I don't judge him for that (I have mental health issues, after all). He seems to be in his 40s. Rumor around town is he lives with his brother who lives a long ways from Starbucks. So Roy has to walk that distance to and from Starbucks every day.

I have seen Roy coat-less in winter, sitting by the side of the road with his shoes off, his bare feet exposed to the elements. But I haven't seen that for a while. Maybe he's on better meds, now.

Since I, too, have mental health issues (I'm bipolar), I can kind of relate to Roy. You can't control what your brain chemistry does to you. I know that some people with mental health issues don't take their meds because they turn them into a lump (like lithium did to me). And maybe Roy doesn't, either.

Roy seems happy, though. I always hope he's able to find the right meds to make him mentally healthy and that he takes them.


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