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Urban Misadventures: Drunk At My Steps

by Borderstan.com — July 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm 2 Comments

From Candida Mannozzi. You can reach her at candida[AT]borderstan.com.

Litter in the gardens and steps. (Candida Mannozzi)

Borderstan, I don’t know about you, but I get annoyed when I walk up to my building to find a drunk, disheveled, drooling (or worse) person on the steps, barring access to my home. I know — picky, picky, picky!

The other day I ran into the same drunk on my front steps who I’d asked not to loiter there a few weeks before. Back then, he protested that he had a bad back and needed to rest because there are no public benches anywhere nearby. This is a fact, but so was the smell of booze coming off his breath and the empty hip-flask sized bottle of gin in his open bag. Not to mention that those cement steps were likely not providing significant support to his bad back. I pointed this out to him and asked him to stop loitering on private property. By the time I exited my building some minutes later, he’d left. Huzzah!

Fast-forward to yesterday and there he was again, on the front steps, drunk, drooling, spitting onto the steps (thanks, man, truly spectacular!) and blocking my way into the house. He was swaying so hard from side to side I could barely get past him. One of my neighbors must have called the police, because a short while later I heard noises and saw them getting ready to take him away.

These urban misadventures come with the territory, I suppose. But what I don’t understand is who sells the local drunks booze, lets them loose in the neighborhood, and why?! Maybe liquor store operators should be asked to enforce the same “no serve” policy as most establishments practice with inebriated customers? Because I doubt there’s much success in levying the $500 fine for an open container of alcohol in a public space on someone who’s essentially penniless (blood from a stone, no?).

Booze sellers know who the local drunks are, why can’t we ask them to no longer serve up that “daily dose” and spare the rest of us the dubious pleasure of dealing with their trash scattered in our front yards or left on our stoops after consumption, and equally unsavory behavior.

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Comments (2)

  1. What is the man’s name? What is the phone number for DC social services or a non-profit who has some experience with this situation? I think the question is “Will he accept help today to get sober?” Likely not today, right?

    I personally don’t like the panhandlers around a McDonalds near me. In my head I think they should do some work like shoveling snow, raking leaves or picking up the bottles, but that’s my paradigm of earning money for the Dollar Menu. It sucks that this individual is on your front step blocking the way when you’re trying to get in at night.

    However, I don’t know about liquor store owners not selling to local drunks. It would probably be the white collar alcoholics who we see in suits that would be the first to object. What I’m saying is that I’ve come across more people with drinking problems that are middle or upper class than people who live on the streets. The people on the streets actually seem easier to address.

  2. These urban misadventures DO NOT come with the territory. As a New Yoker who’s been in DC for about a year, I must say that the police here have no presence. You can’t mess with the NYPD and everyone knows it. I often feel very unsafe in DC. Part of the problem is dirty city politics. You can’t buy Bloomberg and Giuliani was a man with a vision but in DC, … well, you know the drill.

    DC needs a Giuliani, especially now in the face of the changing demographics. Law abiding citizens living in the city should also be much bolder and demand more from their civic leaders.

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