Toothlessly leering in the fashion of a methamphetamine connoisseur, she staggered up to people and swore at them, occasionally grabbing her breasts and pumping them. With the maniacal precision of someone who has decided she is exempt from any possible implied social contract, she stalked up to cars and shouted into their cabins at the startled faces of newcomers, then lurched back towards the sidewalk to scatter pedestrians with her raving.
Intrigued, I activated the camera function of my phone and was prepared as I walked past.
“Say, would you mind smiling? I’ve never taken a picture of a crazy person before”, I called out brightly and with a smile.
In a flash, her chemically affected exuberance at causing discomfort snapped inwards and she spun about, hiding her face as I took a picture. Assuming this to be an accident, I followed her around a pillar to get a followup picture, but she hid her face and kept evading.
I glanced up as a pedestrian passed and smiled. “Shucks,” I said, putting away my camera, “she seems to be a bit camera shy.” To my surprise, I received a withering look that suggested that _I_ was somehow in the wrong in this situation, that my refusal to substitute pity for amusement was somehow indicative of a deep seated personality flaw on my part. I suspect that she hadn’t considered the alternative, that I’m simply an asshole, and that part of being an asshole is being unwilling to treat adults as children.
Folks, at what point do we stop giving a free pass to the mentally ill or addicts who veer through our neighborhoods, menacing our kids and yellow profanities at the top of their lungs? At what point do we call them on their bullshit?
Do not coddle them. If people do stupid things or behave badly, say something. You may be providing a vital service to someone who believes their actions are acceptable because society never tells them otherwise.