17 December 2013

OtR 1998

I was reading back through a diary I once kept and thought this entry was worth sharing. I have removed some personal details, but OTR seemed (or was) a lot more grim:

10/07/98 I'm looking at old photo of fountain square, and see the stairs at the corners going down into the ground. Lots and lots of people in the photos. I imagine a story told about a wino slipping down the steps. The city is big and bustling, and is a real city, ... And I think of Cincy today, and how to me it has a small town feel. I feel like we know everyone, and that hubbub is gone. A book, full of vignettes of historical scenes in Cincy could be a good seller, and could give Cincy it’s common vision thing that .... talks about. Perhaps the vignettes could be written as diary entries, as Pepys. Showing that there are commonalities to today.

What a long day. The linoleum floor is cold, the windows black with night, and the gas is hissing to heat my coffee. But maybe I should give up and go the other way, and have a stiff drink instead.

I woke up this morning to a scream. It was C..., and it really wasn’t a scream, but a loud call for me. She was on her way out to work at the bakery at 5 am. At the foot of the stairs, I hear the bells jingling on the front door as she rushes back in. My first feeling was one of eye-rolling annoyance. That is until I come down, and see that there is a man crouched down behind our front gate, unmoving, back towards me. Probably passed-out drunk, I think. I approached his hulking back, and poke him. But I could tell right away, that something was wrong. He didn’t budge at all. I bent over, to pull back his shoulders. He was crouching down, as if looking out through the gate, but the gate opens inward, thus we could not get out without moving him. As I pulled on him, he stayed in the crouched position. It was then I was sure he was dead. C and I had a quick back and forth about whether or not he was really dead, and then C went up to call the police. I pulled him further inside the brick passageway, and got the gate open, stepped over him, and waited on the front sidewalk for the police. C went on to work, she is always worried about doing a good job, and there are a lot of croissants and pastries to be made in the next few hours.

... seen a few dead bodies down here, and seen a couple as they were dying. This neighborhood, this city seems to me the place people come to finish. At least it is the place that those who failed in life come to finish.

Last week, I saw an old, old white man standing outside the vacant building next door, 1508 Elm. He was looking up at a window, and nearby a minivan was idling, with a middle-aged woman sitting at the wheel, waiting for her father or grandfather. I asked if he needed any help, and he replied that he had lived here as a child, many years ago. You could see the memories in his eyes. His breathing was shallow. But he won’t die down here, that is left to the winos, crackheads and the other losers...

Enquirer Story on the man who died in our entry.


5chw4r7z said...

Those steps going into the ground on the old (pre-2006) Fountain Square, one of the first days we lived in Cincinnati we saw them and got excited, this must be a subway!! Nope led to a parking garage. You can't even imagine our disappointment.

CityKin said...

and led to some dingy toilets too