Friday, July 25

meet Barry (official Barry Hunter backstory)

Barry Hunter is a sixty-four year old gentleman who has been living at the lol-iday inn longer than I’ve worked there, so for over two years now. We get long-term residents from time to time, especially in the winter when people stop sleeping outside or in their cars, but he is by far the longest stay.

Barry Hunter is, well, touched. He’s a bit of an odd duck, and mostly does not speak to anyone on staff here besides the Owner-Manager. As I’ve mentioned before, he doesn’t say much, and in fact slightly resembles Mr Bean in his tendency to mumble to himself and make the occasional meep sound. He’s finally gotten used to me now (after two years), and will occasionally vocalize to me his desire to pay for another week’s stay, a washcloth, or just to say hi. Sometimes he will wave to me as I drive out on my way home.

He spends most of his days and nights here roaming the hallways and parking lot, occasionally while in a state of deshabille. He takes off for hours at a time, and was once returned by police after apparently causing a disturbance. Recently, he’s become quite active, leading to many remarks in our logbook such as “Barry’s on fire tonight!” One of his habits is pounding on walls, mostly those in his room, but at times he will walk around outside banging on walls. He has also taken to following women to their rooms, and standing outside their doors for long periods of time. This nearly got the crap beat out of Barry when a young woman’s boyfriend took exception to his behavior.

When extremely disturbed, he does it to cars, which is one of the behaviors that really has us worried for him, as people are very touchy about their vehicles. Barry seems to be fascinated by cars, spending a lot of time staring at those in our parking lot, which makes other guests nervous. Recently, he’s also taken to getting on his hands and feet to peer beneath, and occasionally crawl under cars. This is extremely alarming to any number of people, including myself. In fact, I caught Gary peering under my car a few days ago. I rapped on the office window right behind him, and he jumped up and stood with his hands clasped behind his back, staring at the sky as though he had been doing that all along. Amused, I rapped again to catch his attention, but he resolutely maintained his bird watching act.

Us clerks are pretty concerned for his safety, as his behaviors tend to make other people upset—and when dealers, crackheads, and heshers are upset, people get hurt. We tried reaching his family, but they have washed their hands of Barry, actually telling the Assistant Manager, “He’s your problem now.” They will only occasionally show up to pay for his stay. Another clerk asked the police what we ought to do, and they told us that we need to call them every time he is a disturbance so that a record can be kept that will get Barry some help. He’s been brought home as a disturbance by the police twice in the last month.

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