The official site of author Ruth McLeod-Kearns

Ruth McLeod-Kearns is an advocate for opiate/heroin overdose, author, creator of the I'll Bring the Coffee blog series and a contributing writer for Things Women Want Freedom of Expression magazines.

Here, you can connect with the author, follow her social media accounts and download the thought-provoking novelettes. As always, she'll bring the coffee.

The City That Used To Be Mine

If you ever want to feel completely uncool and out of touch, go to the city.  Maybe I have lived in my sleepy town for too long, because this now feels as foreign to me as if in Romania.  I use that country because for the cab company that services the art district, that is the home language of their drivers.  It is beautiful, and it lulled me into sleepiness as I sat out front this morning to watch the sunrise.


Do you have any idea how many people are out jogging at 4:50 am?  So many I thought it may be a race, not a Thursday morning where people chose this time and activity on purpose.  I stood awkwardly faking a stretch here and there, like I might break out in a sprint like in that movie “Chariots of Fire”.  I clearly wasn’t as I stood there with a cup of coffee, a snuck cigarette, and a hoodie.  I now need to do stretches just to reach the coffee pot.  That made me feel slightly old.  The man in the wheelchair, no legs below the knees, was a buffed phenomenon as he whizzed through these streets with the grace of a bird flying high above the ocean.  I stared until he was out of sight.  I could still feel the wisp of air that circled my imagination as he flew by me.  Not noticing my instant athletic pose where I think I pulled my hamstring.  I tried to make the obvious wince into an awkward smile.  The doorman chuckled. 


I started to walk toward the sun that made the sky a pinkish blue that looked soft as a baby's blanket.  That was a real smile that came automatic and true.  I window shopped, or really window gasped at the price tags.  Did they forget a dot?  Could those zeroes be right?  I was just getting over the shock of that, when I noticed that the heads of the dolls that wore these priceless threads were half gone.  Just half heads.  Is that art?  Do they know the heads are gone?  It didn’t make me want the clothing that costs more than my car any more than if the entire cerebral surface was accounted for.  I also didn’t realize that high waters are now worn on purpose.  Damn, why didn’t I keep those pants that I used to love in college?  Well, they would need to be taken out a little.  Actually, a new piece of cloth may be needed to have enough “give” room.  Nah, glad I threw it out.


The homeless are scattered here and there like trash in a windstorm.  The attributes that are similar are so obvious and cruel.  Nobody sees them.  Sure, we all walk by,  but most if honest will admit they speed up their pace ever so slightly, but they lie to say otherwise. As night wears on, they find grates in the street that vomit steam upward and burn the exposed skin already so damaged and wind swept like leather.  So stiff, smiles wouldn’t be possible, or maybe not remembered.


The city.  It is as wild as the animals I wrote about yesterday.  It is loud, concrete, and poetic in tragic and art worthy types of ways.  I closed my morning with a coffee from the coffee store mecca of the world with the green woman who dons each cup.  I no longer tried to pretend this was my city as well as theirs.  I stretched to walk, not my pretend run.  I enjoyed the art in the windows by ignoring the crazy price tags that leave a bad taste in my mouth.  I will be going to a Salvador Dali exhibition today if I can find it.  I will people watch and blend in enough to not be a target for scams on the tourists, but I remember where I live, where I came from, and I am ok with who I am, and who I am not.


The city.  I lived here as a young girl, but this is not my home.  But I am so happy I am here.  Maybe I will go to the house on the Presidio where we resided when youth ruled my family.  It does not now, and I am ok with that.  


I’m off to look like I am jogging in Union Square.  How we love to fit in.  This city isn’t family, but an old friend.  We both are showing our age.  Not a bad place to be, and worrying about it does nothing to change that.  Crap, I just pulled my back.  Tomorrow then.

*Center for Disease Control and Prevention, "Understanding the Epidemic: Drug overdose deaths continued to increase in 2015", 12/16/16