Yup, it was cold. Still is.

I think I may spend the day in my sleeping bag. It’s in the low 40’s. Not that bad if you’re bundled up and moving but downright chilly to just be sitting in.

Even Keegan spent the last hour in my hammock with me curled up under the Snuggie.

Cold tonight I think

The thermometer says 50* but I think it’s colder. The wind has a serious bite.

I’m already in my down sleeping bag with my Snuggie.

The Christmas family mom and daughter took me to get some yarn today. The idea was to get enough small bits so that I could make a few sample items for her to take to work with her.

I think we did well.
I got some small bits of all cotton that will work really well for washcloths. And I’ve found lots of free patterns that I can use as a base for my own patterns (some stipulate that they not be used for profit, some don’t). I’m thinking a set of baby animals for kids baths. A set of dog themed ones for the dog lovers. A set of beach items, starfish, sand bucket, fish. I’ve got some others that won’t be as a “set”.
But I think these might be a good way to get started.

I’ll also be making some more knapsacks and “Jayne” hats.

Right now it’s too cold though. My fingers are turning blue!

I don’t feel good.

In fact, I’ve felt sick for a couple days now.

I don’t know if it’s stress related or food related.

It’s cold and my tummy hurts and Keegan stole my blankets. (stop laughing! I can still hear the sniggering..)

But I did get out my warm sleeping bag. That way I don’t have to wrestle Keegan for the blankets. I did have to do some dog-handling to get my pillow back though. Have you any idea how heavy a completely limp 50 pound dog is? I’m sure there’s an additional weight due to the force of gravity in the 20th dimension or something, some force we haven’t been able to quantify yet.

Oh! Joke!

One of the homeless guys told me this one…

Q: Why is it called a toothbrush?
A: It was invented in Arkansas.

2nd notice to self

No matter how good they taste, lettuce and carrots are still fiber.

(I begin to see why homeless people live off of day old bready products and canned soup; other than the having no teeth part I mean)

Talk therapy?

If talk therapy worked I’d be “cured”.

Each organization I deal with needs to know (or thinks they need to know) all the horrors of my past. In detail. With explanations.

So each week, lately, I’ve been telling a whole new group of people that I don’t know (but who of course will keep everything confidential and will never ever lose any paperwork or records, but that’s not really the point anyway) all the terrible sordidness that was the first half of my life. (not terribly sordid truthfully but to hear their gasps and sniffles I should be selling to the enquirer or the star or something)

I’ve got to say that constantly being forced to describe years of trauma over and over is not helpful for ones mental state.
And the tears and pitying looks are actually offensive.

Let’s take all the bad things that are shameful and pass them out to as many people as possible! Let’s tell everyone!
That way everyone can look at you with pity and sorrowful expressions and can make themselves feel oh so much better because they have such an overflowing of compassion for the poor little dear.

Fuck people (not you readers!), is the concept of moving on no longer taught in counselor school? (I mean counselors as therapists, not lawyers).

But you know what?
This evening I had a visit from the wife/mother of the Christmas family. And you know what? We had a good time, I did anyway, I think she did too. Did we talk about how terrible life was? No, I mean there was no denying that I’m living in my truck but so what. We talked about regular stuff, funny stuff her kids do. Funny stuff WE do. Society. Siblings. Lots of rambling stuff. Religion vs belief. Her work. Possibilities for my work. Grandparents and pets. How we’re alike, how we’re different.

And I feel the best emotionally that I’ve felt in days.

Therapists.. Case workers.. Well-meaning community organizers.. Take note.

More articles.. Working homeless, vehicular homeless

http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2011/11/23/the-new-homeless-living-behind-the-wheel/

http://www.amny.com/urbanite-1.812039/the-new-homeless-working-but-without-housing-1.2891798

http://www.truthistreason.net/car-sleepers-the-new-american-homeless

Disassociation (or Adaptation)

Usually when I have an appt somewhere I drive over the evening before and spend the night iChat parking lot. It saves stress and frustration for everyone, me and everyone else on the road. My truck doesn’t move very fast and takes forever to actually start moving as well, not something you want to be in during rush hour traffic with angry drivers all around.

So anyway, I usually pass thru downtown after dark, anywhere from 6-9pm. I’ve always been amazed at the nightlife. So many! Every night!
I’ve never felt part of that crowd, I never had the money nor the desire to go to crowded bars full of loud music and strobing lights. (a nice quiet laid back pub I could do though)

But I’ve noticed the last few trips that the people all look “fake” to me. The girls in their jeggings and micro skirts, the boys in their hip skinny jeans and beanie caps. The condo dwellers out chatting on the sidewalks with their teeny tiny apartment dogs. The only ones I see who look halfway real are the occasional middle-ages to older couples I see obviously out for a night together, those make me smile and hope all is well for them.

But the rest, the valets, the parking attendants, the bouncers at the doors to the clubs, the city dwellers, the students, and the young professionals…all give me a feeling of an alternate dimension. They always have, but never so strong as now.

I realized as I thought about this, trundling along in the slow lane at ~28mph, that the people that look real to me are the homeless people.
They are the ones who, to me, seem to know how the world really works. At least, my world, what is now, currently, my world.

Ponderings

I mentioned on Sunday that the christmas family came by and handed out goodies.

After chatting with the men I got to chat with the wife and daughter a bit more (and got to show off my new chemistry textbook to the young daughter child, she was suitably impressed and I was happy) while the husband went into the grocery store.

She mentioned that she’d asked Dave what he wanted and/or needed and that Dave had said (my paraphrasing) “give Rachel what she needs, she can go somewhere, she needs to get out of here”.
I was, and still am, unable to describe what this meant to me. Homeless people aren’t known for being generous, though they frequently share within their own group. But still, Dave is, I guess… If one were to have a mentor for living on the fringes, Dave is my mentor. He never laughs AT me, well.. maybe he does but I can’t tell because usually I’m laughing too. Let’s say that I’ve never been hurt by his laughter or felt less than because of it. Dave clues me in to the codes that I don’t know, explains things that happen that I can’t figure out on my own, and shows me how to deal with the people that come by, both the helpful and the non-helpful.

But this has brought up again in my mind, what happens to people that don’t find a good group to be a part of. And how long can a person live on the fringes before they slip into the brush completely?

I know how easy it would be to drop out completely. If I didn’t love school and learning so much I would already be gone. It’s only school that requires me to stay presentable, stay sociable, stay connected with people in the “real” world.
And its only you people that have given me the financial means to stay connected.

What happens to be people that have the misfortune to start out downtown? Or don’t have access to computers and libraries or the knowledge of how to use them? What happens to the ones that get abused by other homeless instead of mentored? And the ones that have everything stolen from them instead of given?

I know my days get dark sometimes, and I know that I have times that I need to hide until I can face the everything that is the world, but I do know, even during the times I can’t believe it, that I have been, and continue to be, very fortunate.

Wild flailing frustration

Why is it that people without computers will always sit in the ONE booth that has access to the power outlet.
And these aren’t quick come and go either. These are people that have 3 or 4 kids running in and out of the little playscape outside who take an hour and a half to eat a carton of 6 chicken nuggets, each!
Okay, that 6 hours each was hyperbole but you get what I’m going for right?

Laundry done

Got my laundry washed and dried. Didn’t cost as much as I feared because the attendant didn’t make me buy a card. You have to put a minimum amount on the card and I wouldn’t have been able to use all of it.

I finished my homework problem set while I was there too but still have 2/3 of the reading to do.

Then I went back and hung out with the guys.

The older couple in the little Toyota tracker (or whatever it is) showed up again. The man is quite garrulous while the woman occasionally mutters something under her breath. Both of them seem to be slightly off-kilter. Coming from me that might mean something.
They’re definitely of the swear at the world in every breath persuasion.
I don’t much like being around them.
The woman started feeding Keegan something that had been around for a few days and had already made one of the men sick. I told keegan to leave it and the woman looked hurt and offended. She wasn’t feeding it to her dog. Idiot. This was the first time I’d let Keegan free while they were around, I won’t do so again.

Daryl, who’s still in jail, may end up staying in jail for some time. I noted earlier that he only had one unlisted charge against him but he had a bail of $15,000. The rest of the group said he must be charged with a felony of some sort; probably running his mouth and saying something stupid according to the men. But until they list what the charge is no one can guess how long he might be in for.

I suck at panhandling, seriously!

The guys said I should try it so I did. (And my anthro background was telling me that I had to try it to experience the full impact of being homeless.)

They helped me make a sign, which was a nice bonding experience, and told me where to stand and how to hold the sign and all.

I wasn’t any good at standing in one place and Keegan brought me a stick and wanted to play and and… After about 20 minutes I gave up and headed back to the group camp.
They told me that I should have concentrated on standing there holding my sign instead of playing with Keegan.

But they were very supportive and told me the odds of scoring. And reminded me that it only takes one car donating to make the time worthwhile.

Not playing by the rules!

Today when I dropped by the communal meeting spot I saw a bunch of people I didn’t know all over the intersections that the group here shares.
I didn’t recognize any of them.

When I turned the corner and saw Steve I asked him who all those people were and why they were on the corner.

He said that they were a scam, affectionately called “the bucket heads”, who show up every little bit and just take over the corner.
Apparently they belong to some organization, loosely called a “church”. The church has no address and while they hand out pamphlets (tracts) they collect money for “the church”.
Steve says that according to the couple he’s talked to (in between threats and posturing for possession over the corner) that their church is some guy who lets them all live in a trailer and feeds them 3 meals a day for $50 a day (each). The guy drops a group of 9-10 of them off at various corners and then picks them up again 9 hours later and takes his $50 each.
Pretty good deal for the pimp.

The guys were pretty pissed but 2 of them weren’t going to win a fight against 10 of them.

These new guys were really aggressive though, walking up to cars and knocking on windows (that’s illegal), getting in the faces of the drivers.

The police did come by and one car sat there in one of the turn lanes. The policeman never got out of his car or said anything to them, just sat there. After about 20 minutes the group finally quit and wandered off to one of the parking lots to wait for their ride home.
They couldn’t walk out in the streets and bang on the car windows while the police were watching.

They were breaking all the rules.

Only this group is allowed to use that corner. And everyone shares the corner using the method of seniority.

No Dave update yet..

A friend of mine called the morgue for me this afternoon to check on Dave.

There’s no unidentified bodies or unclaimed bodies as of now.

I’ll check again in a few days.
šŸ˜¦

1 decision made…

In several of my past posts I’ve made reference to decisions I had to make.
One of the decisions that I had to make sooner rather than later was whether I was going to try and stay in school.

I’ve finally convinced myself that I can do it, or at least attempt it.

Not terribly big news to the rest of the world but huge to me because it’s the first decision in a stream of decisions.

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