Monday, March 30, 2009

colfax avenue was where my motel was in denver, and the name didn't ring any bells for me; it seemed like it was a cheap motel and reasonable, not too far from the convention. i suspected by how cheap it was that something was up, but i didn't see it until i got there.

what was up was this; although it was only about a mile from the convention center, and that mile passed the beautiful state house and lots of stately civic buildings, it also encompassed several bars, music venues, cheap liquor stores, and literally hundreds of homeless people. it started snowing almost the minute i got there, and turned into a blizzard, where you could hardly see in front of you, yet whenever i turned around, there was some guy with a long beard like i used to have looking at me like he was at the end of his rope. usually they didn't bother me much, a couple of them asked me for money but most actually didn't. still i knew they were homeless, why else would they be out in a blizzard like this? and i knew colfax avenue was some kind of magnet for this kind of thing.

the snow piled up and became slush as it was wet and wasn't really frigid although it had a bite to it with the wind and all. once webheads and i were walking up a street and some guy was sitting out directly on a heating grate, right in the middle of the blizzard. he also didn't especially bother us for money, but the warm steam of the under-the-city air was all that kept him from freezing into the sidewalk. in fact he was smiling. it was as if he'd gotten the choice spot in the city. snow swirled around and blinded people that tried to walk in it, in the rest of the city, almost the whole time i was there. once in the hotel, in the morning i think, a woman slipped in and quickly asked me for a cigarette, which of course i don't carry. another time, taking a back way, i came upon a house with maybe twenty or so outside, standing around, while the house sported lots of "no trespassing" signs all over it.

if they weren't so "there-but-for-the-grace-of-god-go-i," i would have just gone on with my life, busy as it is, with three presentations and now makeup classes the following week, for what i missed, and a birthday party to plan and a trip to the d.r., whenever i can get it together. a half-dozen stacks awaited me upon my return, but my thoughts carry back to denver, a mile high, where, in the sun, it can get pretty warm, but where mostly i saw slush, ice, snow padded down, and people out walking in it by the dozens at a time. i'd walk home at eleven or twelve, too late for the shuttle, and the street was full. on the way back, i had to get out at about five thirty a.m., to make it to a seven a-m presentation. stopped at a place called "tom's diner" for a denver omelette, which tasted very similar to what one would get around here, but which i can still taste. by this day, three days later, the blizzard had abated a little, but it was still snowy and icy on the street, and i warmed up as the sun showed signs of possibly rising in an hour or so, outside. a big guy came in looking for work, and was rejected. not many jobs around, i'd guess, the depression and all. it gave me a deep sense of tiredness, but eventually i got back out in the cold, walked down past the capitol and to my presentation, and started, in my own kind of way, back home.


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