Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Lady & The Tram; The Screaming Man


The Screaming Man was on my tram today.
He didn't scream as much as last time, he rocked back and forth on his seat and shook his head from side to side, then made some garbled sounds and pointed in front of him as if he was getting someone in trouble.

He was on the 55 Tram once before.

I had sleep walked onto the tram as I do every morning and settled in to a mind numbing staring competition with whatever was in front of me, probably a pole.

Then I heard him scream for the first time.

I thought someone had been stabbed, or an appendix had burst, or the love of his life left him for another man (possibly his brother or a rockstar), whilst simultaneously she split his head open with an axe.
None of those things happened. It sounded like it. I've never heard a more heart wrenching sound.
His scream was not high pitched, it was like a deep manly shout, but it was long.
Like he was dying in pain & terror.
It sounded like hurt and sadness and desperation and it was really, really, really loud.

I was so frightened I nearly punched the guy sitting next to me.


I didn't.
I turned around to see the man sitting behind me.

He was scrawny, lanky, he wore a cap, his skin was grey & dull. It looked like his diet consisted of cardboard and maybe cockroaches, (you know, for protein). He had big glasses underneath his cap, I think his pale blue/grey eyes looked in seperate directions. His tightly clenched teeth were yellow and crooked. He looked old, but he had no wrinkles.
Then he screamed again, and again.

When his screams stopped momentarily, he would rock back & forth, stamp his feet, mutter incoherent words, shake his head, clench his teeth and his neck, raise his hands and hit himself in the head.

Then he would scream again and again. Loud, Painful, Heartbreaking. Sad.
He reminded me a little bit of my brother Joey, when he is upset.
Joey is a great big 24 year old happy-go-lucky guy, he also has Autism.
Joey is kind hearted, compassionate and very friendly. But when he is upset he can yell and throw things and he can be a bit scary if you don't understand what's going on. He is a good kind person who literally has no control over his actions sometimes. People do not understand him. People are threatened by him. My goofy funny friendly brother.
Joey is nowhere near as scary as this guy
it's just sometimes when he shouts it's that same uncontrollable, misunderstood loud noise that has so much feeling behind it you know?

This screaming man is terrifying.
At one point, he stood up, walked up right next to me, looked out the window and screamed.
I was petrified.
I was "acting casual" with sheer terror shooting through my body.
I didn't want to look afraid incase I hurt his feelings.
He stayed next to me, looking out the window, screaming.
He arrived at his stop and went shouting off down the street.

he sounded violent and threatening and scary and loud.
But I think he is harmless.
My fear turned into sadness.
I wanted to give him a hug so that he would stop punching himself.
I wanted to ask if he was okay.

Keep this in mind if you think someone is scary.
Maybe the fear is not of the screaming man, but the fact that you do not understand him.

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