For the last few days an elderly man with a walker, parks himself on the sidewalk, sitting right outside our front door. He is there from early in the morning, and then stays there, throughout the day. This in and of itself is not a problem, except for the fact that he starts drinking alcohol early in the morning and by midday he is clearly “borracho” (drunk).
By about 2pm he is so drunk that he passes out and falls asleep with his head just inches from our front door, so that when we open the gate and the door we literally need to walk over and around him. Try navigate exiting a house with two eager dogs on leashes when there is a body blocking the way!
The first few attempts at getting him to move entailed a few stern but polite commands throughout the day.
“You need to move away from our front door.”
This had no impact whatsoever.
He looked blankly back at Ben and clearly was already too drunk to be able to respond or to move.
Okay, well…. harmless to have a drunk old man sitting on the sidewalk. However, a drunk passed out like a corpse that you have to navigate around when you leave your house, is a different issue. Now we start to worry that he could actually die right outside our house or someone will trip on him or the dogs will pee on him or a whole host of other possibilities.
“Maybe we can throw water on him”. An attempt to shock him out of his drunken stupor
I don’t like that idea at all, it seems too disrespectful, even if he is a drunk. I don’t like the idea of gringos throwing water over a local, even if he is a drunk. We ask a few of our Nica neighbors if they have any grand ideas of how to get rid of the borracho.
“Throw water on him” is the suggestion.
Ben is about to get the hose, but then concedes to take a cup of water and “wake him up “ with it.
Water gets thrown on mans’ head, mans’ clothes get slightly wet, but no movement whatsoever from the drunk. He is passed out after all. It’s too late for water. Or, he has had so much water thrown at him before, that it really has no impact on him.
Day three… I am still pondering on how to get rid of the borracho outside the door.
It’s not so great to open the door in the morning and come face to face with the drunk we threw water at the night before.
I decide to take a totally different approach.
After all this man is elderly, he uses a walker and clearly he is homeless and has nothing in his life other than his alcohol or so it appears. His a victim of circumstance.
I approach the drunk, as yet not passed out for the day, and say in my politest nicest most respectful Spanish while looking directly into his eyes and holding his gaze….
“Buenos dias. Yo tengo una regalo para ti”. “Good day.I have a gift for you.”
. I give him three lovely bananas for a real breakfast, an actual option to liquor. And then I add
“Please be so kind as to move somewhere else. Thank you so much.”
A little while later I opened the door and lo and behold, the borracho was gone. And not only that, but he has not been back since! It’s possible he might be back for more bananas, but at 3 cords a day (5 cents) for three bananas that would be fine by me too.