I saw a crazy lady today in a shopping center parking lot. This woman was walking around, screaming at nobody. I'm not even sure what she was saying. I, like most people I'm sure, grew up seeing people talking to themselves, or just acting strange, and referred to them as crazy people. You see them, you make an innocent comment, or walk by and shake your head, without giving that person another thought. There was a women I saw everyday for three years walking down the same street, every morning, talking to herself. I passed her as I drove Mary to school. My first thought upon seeing her, shamefully enough was, "that could be Mary one day". I also vowed that I would never let her off on her own, without someone to watch over her.
As Mary got older, and became more verbal, we started to see and hear her do certain things that would seem very strange to anyone who didn't know Mary. We have even affectionately called her "crazy pants" at times. Mary spends as much time as she can, standing at the end of our driveway, waiting for people to walk by. Everyone who walks around our neighborhood will stop to chat. Mary knows everybody's dogs name, which children/grandchildren, play what sports, or who is going to this and that college. They all know Mary is special, and everyone is very nice. When there is no one around, Mary talks to herself. If there is something she is upset about, she will stomp around and angrily grumble to herself. Mostly though, if there is music plugged in her ears, she will sing out loud, and dance her little heart out. All by herself, in her own world, off key, clumsily swinging her hips.
Now when I see someone acting strangely in the streets, I no longer shrug them off as a crazy person. I feel sad that maybe they don't have, nor have they ever, had someone to watch over them. Someone to make sure they don't end up in the streets screaming and talking to themselves. I wonder if at one time, they were just a boy or girl in the neighborhood, who danced liked no one was watching.