****Warning towards the end I talk about a sexual encounter, so if you are squeamish beware. I promise you it’s worth the story.******
The life of a homeless person can be pretty chaotic and stressful. From seeing fights break out to spilling pudding all over your belongs life in a shelter can be rather in unpredictable. So when you have fairly quiet days it’s pretty nice, especially if it’s followed by a particularly stressful and chaotic day.
This was the case yesterday when three men came to the day shelter to beat the crap out of a women. The main guy hit her twice and she got away. He proceeded to chase her around the day shelter coming near me. I was ready to get up to protect her when she bolted out of the room and went behind the employee area.
Of course he followed her and proceeded to attack her while one of the women employees Lucy tried to protect her. That’s when I got up to protect Lucy. Then the guy says something about bringing out the guns and that he’d be back. Talk about frightening. All I could think about was getting murdered in the day shelter. Thankfully they ended up leaving as more employees got involved. I was for sure they were going to return to shoot up the place. I was so relieved to wake up and nothing happened. I was in a panic all night getting ready to run when I heard gunshots. You just never know what people are capable of and when someone says they have a gun you believe them. Most people don’t realize how dangerous it is being homeless. Even keeping to yourself in the shelters presents its own dangers when you are surrounded by others many of them who know some tough characters, like this woman. On top of all of that you have to worry about being mugged. People will lie, cheat and steal to get what they want. So you have to be alert at all times.
It’s the days that you forget that you’re homeless, even though it’s temporary, that are comforting. They are an absolute relief. There’s not a lot of opportunity to just let go and forget about your troubles. So when you can it’s a total treat. Comforts just don’t exist when you are homeless so when you have an uneventful day you bask in all its glory.
Mornings in the day room are usually pretty quiet. Most mornings that’s where I’m at as the busses don’t run that early and the library doesn’t open until 9am. Typically I’m out the door by 8am-ish to get to the library by the time they open. I enjoy mornings because I get to chit chat with one of the Volunteers of America employees, Robin, who sits behind the desk. She’s funny and I enjoy talking to her. I get a lot of gossip about the place so that’s fun. Today the talk was about hanky panky in the men’s dorm last night. Two of the guys were caught in the bathroom going at it. Obviously someone dropped the soap. I’m just glad I wasn’t the one to walk in on them. Drex, one of the guys, involved is pretty out there. I’m super gay but he takes the cake. I’m not knocking him at all I just cringe because it brings a lot of attention to him, and that could put him in great risk. Drex flaunts his sexuality proudly and often times is very defensive. He doesn’t really have boundaries. His excuse was that it was natural and not a big deal. I don’t get it. He’s got it really well in the shelter I stay out. He’s got his own area, granted it doesn’t have a door but it’s semi-private. Having sex in the dorms can get you banned. He’s lucky that he didn’t. The next time he might not be so lucky and I wouldn’t be surprised if he does. I keep my business close to me. There are just too many risks to make yourself known in that grand of a gesture. I have found a lot of straight guys have a complex, especially around flamboyant individuals. They’re always thinking you are trying to hit on them. Drex probably would and that’s the problem. I wonder what his life before this. It’s obvious he’s been through a lot. I also think there is something going on with his mental health as well. I look at those around me and I picture their lives before. It’s really sad.
Lately I’ve been staying until 10am when they give out snacks. I’m watching what I eat so I have been getting candy for my 10 year old niece. Today I snagged three Hershey chocolate bars for her. She just had a birthday and I missed it because I was in the hospital. It broke my heart to miss her special day. So I’m trying to grab her some goodies. My favorite days are when I get to chat online with her. She’s so wise, witty and funny. She’s got this realistic attitude and I love it. She’s like a miniature adult.
I was ready to leave for the library when I learned they were having pizza. Pizza is my favorite foods and usually the food they have I don’t like. So pizza days are a treat. Today was more like a trick. It was soggy. Still it was something to eat. I scarfed it down and headed to the library.
I’m not sure if it’s the dayquil I have been taking but it was easier to walk. At least for my legs. Breathing not so much because of having an upper respiratory infection and allergies. Still it was nice to not have much physical pain. I can walk longer and not get tired as much. So I hope that keeps up as it’s a relief both physically and emotionally. I have these unwritten goals that I’m setting. First was being able to walk without much trouble. Next is to improve my mobility in the shower, etc. Lastly I want to start seeing results. I keep looking at my reflection in the glass as I walk to various places. I get a bit frustrated when my I’m not shedding the pounds like I want but I use it to fuel me to push harder. I just want the weight off. I know that will take time and I must push through the frustrations and definitely the pain. I will have days I falter and days that I succeed but I can’t give up. I must remember it’s like my old therapist use to say, you can’t attach a cocoon to a stick and whip it around expecting the butterfly to emerge.
I love going to the library. It’s so quiet and peaceful, most of the time. There is a baby behind me crying today. Didn’t they read no crying babies allowed on the sign outside? The first thing I do is get on the internet. I gotta get my web on. I feel lost without my laptop. I thought about bringing it with me but it’s too risky. Blogging on my android phone is a pain in the butt, especially if it’s a long post but I make do. I usually start a piece on my phone and finish it at the library like today. Unfortunately you only get three hours of day on the computers so afterwards I usually work on my comic book and enjoy the air conditioning. It’s in the 80’s today.
Today I had other plans. I had signed up for a new app called MoviePass a while ago. For only ten dollars you can see one movie a day. I’m really in shock how cheap it is. So I treated myself to a movie. I went to see Oceans 8, which was wickedly awesome. I’m a sucker for a movie about strong women, especially if it’s a badass group of them like with this movie. It empowers me to see women kick ass and break the norms of society. I see myself in a lot of the characters in movies like this. From Hit-Girl from Kick-ass to the women in Sucker Punch. Oceans 8 was everything I thought it would be. I’m a huge Sandra Bullock and she was perfect as Debbie Ocean. The whole ensemble was phenomenal. My favorites were Mindy Kaling, Rihanna and Sarah Paulson. Rihanna as Nine Ball was pure perfection. She kind of reminded me of Miss Connection in my comic book Dragzilla. I loved how they used the Met Ball as the target of the heist. I just love the Met Ball it’s pure fantasy and totally fabulous. I’m a sucker for a ballgown. Anything big and flowing really gets me going like Anne Hathaway’s dress in the movie. Anne had me at pink.
I left the movie feeling so inspired and empowered. I was ready to do high kicks out of the theatre or some karate moves. Instead I headed to the bus stop. Crime fighting would have to happen another day because I couldn’t be late for my bus or I would have to walk home. In the evenings you have to coordinate your trips or you might get stuck as the lines only run to certain times. So I perfectly scheduled times to have enough time to catch the bus at the end and enough time to get to the bus station to get my connecting bus. Plus enough time to get something to eat.
If anyone has ever rode on public transportation understands that bus times are just a guess really. They’re either early or late. This bus was really late, which pushed me close to not having enough time to get something to eat. Thankfully he was only ten minutes late. I will admit it was worth the wait because the driver was Rastafarian. He is probably the coolest bus driver I have ever met. He had dreadlocks and was listening to reggae music. He had this chill vibe to him. Like he was late and he’s just chill, no biggie. At the next stop he takes a break outside and I think he was smoking a joint, with a cop car parked in front. That’s how carefree he was. Just kidding, he was just talking on his phone. He was cool as fuck. I totally could see him as a superhero. The Bus Driver. Maybe he will make an appearance in my comic book.
On the way to the bus station I noticed he was staring intently at something at a stoplight so I was curious and looked. There were what appeared to be huge strips of uncooked bacon hanging from clothesline. I mean they were gigantic. Each one was at least six feet tall and looked just like bacon. There had to be over twenty of them. The Bus Driver looked back at me and says, does that look like uncooked bacon and I agreed. Maybe I was the one smoking. It was a trip. We got to the station and I told him I thought he’d make an awesome superhero character for my comic book. I said goodbye and started walking to get something to eat. I think that’s what I enjoy most about being homeless is the interesting people that I’m meeting, even the ones who are scary and/or difficult. It’s all apart of the experience. I feel like I’m on this spiritual path of growing.
When I get a little extra money I tend to get cheap pizzas at Dominoes, as it can last for two days for me. When you live on little anytime you can do this is a treat. I made sure to order ahead with a set time so I could make the 7:15 pm bus. We have to get back to the dorm no later than 8:30 pm, otherwise we get in trouble and could get kicked out. So I was on a tight schedule and didn’t have a lot of extra time. I get there right at the set time and the guy looked at me confused. He looked all around and asked everyone if they’d seen my pizza. He went to his computer and found my order. I was starting to panic thinking I sent the order to the wrong store. Then he remembers it being made but doesn’t know where it went. The case of the missing pan pizza. I guess it ended up being taken on a delivery. My pizza wanted to go on a stroll, I don’t blame it. It just got out of a hot oven, it needed to get cooled off. So my pizza had to be remade, which meant I was going to miss my bus. Thankfully there was another bus after but that was the last one for the day. So I lucked out otherwise I would be walking home and miss my curfew. I had to wait another twenty minutes. I had sat down, as they have a seating area. The guy brings me two pizzas, the original and the remade one. I guess the original decided to come back. Maybe they were twins. Anyways I got two pizzas and a 20 oz of coke for free.
While I was waiting I had a pre-dinner show going across the street. As I was walking to Dominoes there were two guys standing outside of their car. It was obvious that they had been running. They had very skimpy shorts on and were glistening from sweat. They weren’t shy and were almost showing off. One of them even snapped a selfie of the two of them. Both were in their 20’s and just glorius. That’s the one good thing about the heat is it brings out all the delicious men. I couldn’t help myself, I stared in awe. I was hoping for more than just a pre-show but as my pizza came they started to wrap up. Not before doing some stretches which showed even more of their beautiful bodies. They got in their black mustang and drove away. I needed a cigarette. I scarfed down two slices and made sure to leave early as I wasn’t going to walk home.
As I walked to the bus I felt like I was an antelope walking through a pack of lions. Usually a lot of homeless people hang outside the bus station. Here I was carrying two pizzas and I could see the looks. They were licking their lips and ready to pounce on me. Even a group of men were like are you going to give us any. I just walked away. I was really early so I had thirty minutes to wait. As I waited all I could think of is someone is going to rob me of my pizzas. Then I run into a failed hooked up from a few weeks ago. I don’t hookup that often and this experience is part of why I don’t. Now if you are sexually squeamish you might want to skip to the next paragraph. I promise nothing happened so there’s not too much to be embraced by.
It was on the days were it was in the 90’s so it was hot as fuck. Btw, I have noticed I swear a lot more now that I’m homeless. It must be some sort of release. Anyways I have to take a bus to where he lives, thankfully it’s not too far from where I was. I get to his house and he meets me outside. I’m not too attracted to him but I figured I might as well you know while I’m there. I wouldn’t tell this story if it wasn’t so tragic in many ways but as Drex says having sex is natural. So we go upstairs to his apartment and it’s a complete shithole. I swear I thought I was going to end up on the nightly news. There was nothing in the apartment. Nothing to sit on. Just extremely dirty floors with all kinds of waste on it. It was absolutely nasty and so hot. This is where he stays too. He’s got a bag of tobacco and his phone by the window that’s open, that’s just letting in more hot air. I don’t know why I didn’t just leave right away. I guess it was stupidity and my hormones, and part desperation as it had been a very long time that I had done anything. It was going to be completely one sided in me getting oral pleasure so I didn’t have to do anything. He wanted me to sit on the floor and I’m like no thank you. So he goes to his neighbor to get a seat, really dude? I sit down and he’s just bullshitting me. Keeps wanting to smoke cigarettes. Oh, I forgot the big part of the story prior to coming over he wanted me to buy him a cheap fifth of Whiskey, which was like four dollars and he said he’d pay me back. Looking back I should have seen the red flags.
He started talking about this chick he was getting to know and getting into a fight with her over money. This woman ends up telling him to leave and he has to walk miles home. After two cigs in I realized that I had to cut my losses and get the hell out of there before I ended up in his freezer, if he had one. Though I’m sure he did. So I made up some excuse and got out of dodge. I’m like don’t worry about paying me back and he’s like can I meet up with you later to pay you back. Like I was ever going to meet him again. I wanted nothing more to do with him. It was then I realized he hooked up to just get alcohol, it was just a scam. Thankfully I was out too much money but when you’re poor four dollars is food you don’t get to eat. Four dollars was worth being alive. I literally ran down the stairs, they were like those in a scary movie. I’m like don’t die, don’t die. I make it to my bus stop and I wait. A few minutes laters another guy walks up to his door and he meets him. This new guy has liquor in his hands and he lets him back in. I was like damn he’s got guys lined up, one right after another. I had thought if I hadn’t bolted would he have let this guy in two. In the back of my mind while he was bullshitting me I thought well he’s going waiting for some thugs to come over to kill me. So seeing this other guy unnerved me. Does he just have guys waiting outside in their cars until the trick is done and then tells them to come up?
I was just glad to be out of there. As I was riding the bus back to the library I thought about this guy and how sad of life he lived. I went from disgust to sympathy. This is the sad reality for so many addicts. They will do whatever they need to get their next fix, even if it means living miserable lives. It’s so tragic. He must do this pretty much every day, that’s no way to live but so many tolerate it because of addiction. This disaster of a experience made me realize that casual sex isn’t really what I wanted or needed, nor was it part of the new me. It’s not like that having sex is wrong but it’s just not satisfying emotionally. It’s just going through the actions and it does nothing for me. I want a partner, someone I can trust and love. That won’t happen with meaningless sex, there is no passion. Most of the encounters I have are like two fish flapping together. Sorry for that mental picture but if I have to have it so do you. It’s funny how buried inside your consciousness that your desires can be, like wanting a boyfriend. It’s so deep that you don’t have a clue it’s there until it’s triggered and swept out under the rug by force.
I was hoping to never see this guy again. Well as I was walking to area where my bus came I ran into him. I don’t know if he recognized me or not. He didn’t act like he did but he did bullshit me trying to get a slice. I thought you already scammed me out of four dollars, you’re not touching my pizza. Be gone you miserable man. Yes I judged him. I guess it’s the Southern Baptist coming out of me. Fool me once and that’s it. No more chances. As I wait I prayed he wouldn’t try to come talk to me. I counted down the minutes and held tight to my pizza, and belongings. Thankfully the bus station has security and they shewed him towards the front of the building as they don’t allow loitering.
My number 10 bus showed up on time thankfully as I only had 30 minutes to get back to the shelter. My stop was less than a mile away so it didn’t take long. As I was waiting for the bus I was trying to figure how I was going to get two pizzas through the shelter without anyone noticing. Technically we aren’t supposed to have food in the shelter but usually you can sneak contraband through but that’s when the night shelter opens at 6pm, when no one is in yet. At this time I knew there would be a room full of guys who would con me out of all my pizza and the manager would be in his office. There was no way that I could fit two pizza boxes in my bookbag so I had to come up with a plan. Thankfully I had gotten the number of my roommate, the 70 year old man. He was having trouble getting his phone to ring so I got his number to call and I figured out that the ringer wasn’t turn on. So I had his number. I knew I had these blue cloth grocery bags in my room. All I had to do is convince him to empty one and bring me the bag that I could hide the pizzas in easily. He agreed cautiously. He’s a bit different, and pauses a lot. Finally he comes out, as I’m hiding on the other side of the building. I’m sure it looked very shady. All for pizza. I hid my pizza and went on my way to the front entrance. I acted like everything was normal and went upstairs. I walked past a group of guys and the manager, and went right to my room. I kind of felt like the ladies in Ocean 8. I succeed in the greatest heist there. It was a pizza mission and the reward was deep dish pepperoni and bacon pizza. The best pizza there is. I told my roommate that he could have some and he reluctantly took two. I think I forced him to eat. At first he’s said no then after a few minutes he’s like okay. Like I said he’s a bit different. He likes to stare at me a lot. I talk about the pizza heist and he mentions that it’s illegal to bring food in the room but that everyone does it, including him and that he didn’t think I was going to have him smuggle in anything that would get him in trouble. I wanted to say I only deal in pizza.
I must admit that I felt very guilty not sharing the pizza with anyone else. I’ve noticed since I have been homeless I hoard food. Usually I’m very giving. At the shelter if I see someone hungry I will give them some of my food. I’ve even given a few dollars to people for bus rides but I couldn’t spare a slice. In my mind I couldn’t risk giving up a slice in case I needed it. A lot of the food I eat is not satisfying so I go hungry. So when I do get a good meal like this I enjoy it immensely. Whenever I’m finished with the meal I get sad knowing it will be awhile until I get another meal like this because I can’t always afford to buy a hot meal. I just saw two pizzas and thought this could last me days. It’s not often that I have multiple days in a row that I get good food. So it felt like I hit the jackpot.
Part of why I didn’t share with the guys upstairs because of how they act. They stay up very late and are extremely loud. Curfew is at 8:30pm and they are technically supposed to be in bed by then but the managers let them stay up. Their often times rude and abrasive with few manners. They leave the bathrooms nasty and are very inconsiderate. Like they live in the only bathroom stall there is. One thing I have learned the last two weeks is a lot of people will take advantage of you if you’re not careful. Being gullible can cost you. I have been conned a few times but I learned my lesson and now I’m less likely to do it. I’m just as poor and desperate as they are. I gave the two dollars I had left in my wallet to a woman and her child so she could have bus fare not thinking I would need it later for laundry. She acted like she wanted to go to donate something and in reality she just wanted to go the laundry, as that’s where I found her. Which is fine but now I don’t have any cash to do my laundry and I’m out of clean clothes. My biggest flaw is that I take care of everyone else but myself. I’m horrible at that. I’ve worked hard the last year to overcome this but I still fall into that trap at times. It’s a process and I’m learning. Thankfully I’m only willing to give away things that are very minor but I have to be very careful because when you have little minor can be major especially if it means clean clothes.
So now I have a whole pizza leftover plus a few extra slices that will last me until tomorrow. Yes, I eat day old pizza left out at room temperature. I have done it since I was 18. You don’t waste pizza and it’s not like I have a refrigerator strapped to my back. I’m not Refrigerator Perry for pete’s sake. I might look the part but I can barely carry my backpack. So now I have yummy food for a while. Lately the kitchen has been extra strapped for food. It’s been pretty pitiful. So this was a blessing but I still feel guilty. It’s also a little naughty because I will go off my diet (It’s not a diet but more counting my calories) for a few days because I will devore these slices like I’m Templeton at the State Fair. Two pizzas is a veritable schmorgasboard-orgasboard. Afterwards I will go back to counting my calories. I have this new willpower that I have never had. It’s taken over twenty years to practice I guess.
So that was my uneventful day and I’m now realizing that when you are homeless there is no such thing as an uneventful day. Here I thought I had a normal day and as I wrote it all out on the computer I realize how interesting and rewarding it was. There are just levels of interesting. Some are exciting and fun, while others are scary and dangerous. There is never a dull day. So I will take the exciting and fun days when I can get them because tomorrow is likely to be another crazy, chaotic day at the homeless shelter.