Every morning I get a chance to watch the news. Recently I say a segment that introduced a new caricature to the T.V. show Sesame Street. I cant remember her name. I think it might have been "Lola". I'll just call her Lola. Lola was a sweet muppet. She found her was to Sesame Street because she was coming up in a poor household that was having problems getting food. Lola felt she needed to talk about it to other kids her age. Personally, I like this idea. But there was on point in the interview where something from Lola's friend (a producer of the show) said something that stuck out to me. It was something like this: "people in the food lines don't want to be seen by our cameras". She also want on to say that the reason they don't want to be seen is because they are embarrassed. This all makes sense to me.
There are two kinds of homeless people (in my opinion). The kind that don't want you to know and do everything they can to hide it. And the kind that do want you to know and cant stop boasting about it. I think alot of those people are actually bums looking for the handouts and public sympathy. This is just my opinion....... don't get mad, please.
Me, I'm the first kind of homeless person. I try to keep it to myself. However, when needed I have mentioned it.
Now, your probley thinking "well, if that where true he wouldn't be blogging his life". The truth is that I have no idea why I'm doing this. I might have several reasons. One thing I did know before I started doing this was that I needed to be real. No made up storeys. No lies (typically I don't lie anyways. But I'm the king of avoiding things. "where do you live?" "O, just down the street"). I have to be as honest and open about who I am and what I do day to day as a homeless person as possible. Even the bad parts! If I cant do that for you (the reader) what good an I to you or myself?
I'm going to tell you two storeys now. I'll try to make then quick. I know my poor spelling and grammar are probley killing you anyways.
A little over a year ago I got off a buss in Portland Maine. I had my bag and nothing else. Once again I was homeless. I know no one and had no idea what was going to happen. This is usually how I step into a new place. Portland Maine is a very homeless friendly place (as I've stated in the past). And with some hard work and determination it didn't take me long before I was working full time (call center) and had my own place, an efficiency apartment.
I'm my heart I know It was time to do something big. I never sought it out but I was keeping an open eye.
One day I was working and on break. Outside I saw a co-worker talking on her phone. Her and I where both pretty new and we had not talked much to each other at all. Because I keep my promises so for this story I'll just call her "D". D was on the phone and I could tell she was very upset. After she hung her phone up I walked over and asked her if she was OK. This was our real first conversation. I don't think she know my name. D told me that her and her daughter had recently wound up living with her family. And she was stressed because her living conditions where bad. I never asked how bad but I could tell she was almost in tears. That might I want home and thought about it. The next day I saw D. I walked over and asked if she would like to take my apartment for a while. LOL, I'll never forget the look on her face. Of course she couldn't take me seriously. The next few days I spent trying to convince her I was serious. I constantly wrote notes that said things like "the location is great for you, everything you need is near by", "the rent is payed up three months ahead" (and it was), "I'm not crazy (and I'm not)", "I'll never bother you there (and I never did), "it will be all yours" and balled them and tossed them into her work Q. LOL! Finally I got her to agree to come over and see the place. Standing inside my apartment she asked me "Is this for real?" I said back "if you drop your bag right now I'll give you the keys". I think what made her say yes was the bathtub. I thing she had no way to wash her child. no one gets that excited over a bathtub. Anyways she said yes. Then something happened a complete turn. She told me her story. As it turns out there was a man in her life. The father of her little girl who I will call "LG"And about 3 months prior to that moment in my apartment.... he had died. It was a tragic accident. He wound up drowning in a hot tub. Trust me....its possible. This info rocked my world. D had asked me already several time what I would be doing as a place to stay. I told her a was going to stay at a friend house. And for three week I slept on his floor. If he had not let me do that I would have truly been homeless. But for D and LG I know in my heart this was a small price to bad. D also offered to pay me money several time. I never accepted it. To me what I was doing was so big and special I never wanted to tarnish it. About three weeks later I was back into my place. D had moved out of her parents place and into her own. She also was enrolled in school. I met LG one time. She way about one year old. She will probley never know me and what I did for her and her mom and that's OK. But from time to time I think about the two of them and I cant help wounder if I made the world just a little better. Was LG set onto a path where coming out the gate she had it hard a little brighter by me? God, I hope so! I don't talk much to D. We will always be friends of course and I know in her heart there is a special place for me.
Some of my friend thought I was crazy. They said "why would you lower yourself for a girl you hardly know". my response "sometimes to lift someone up..... you have got to pull yourself down" I had no idea what D would do with the apartment I gave her. My gut just told me to do it. My gut way right!
For the record: this is the second time I have ever told this story in full. Bragging only tarnishes a good dead.
Now, the next story.
I was at my spot last night sleeping. I never told you where this spot was because for me to be there I have to tress pass. That is against the law. Now, I feel bad for doing it. But I felt safe there. When push comes to shove I'll pick my safety for the night over jail time. As long as I know that I'm at least trying to make it off the streets. This was the kind of spot where virtually anyone can have access to and the last thing I want is for a bunch of homeless people saying "that's a good idea" and get into trouble. I wall say this tho..... it was a spot where I felt safe. It was all the things I look for in a spot. It was quiet, in my area, easy to get to, dark, and I had a large window of time to sleep. So, I was there, sleeping when around 11:30 I heard the door open. Scared, I balled up hoping to not be seen. There I was looking up and balled up like a little baby when I heard footsteps approaching me. I hoped it would stop. I thought to myself. Its just someone that forgot something. They will not find me. Just stay quiet. Then...... I saw his face. He jumped back out of view spouting the name "Jesus Christ"! Then he want quiet! I could tell he was scared. So was I! It was very quiet!
Now, I'm going to tell you how the conversation want. But, please don't quote me on this. It all happened so fast. Both our adrenalin was rushing. I wont get it word for work and that's OK because I think its the meaning you will understand.
ME First, still balled up : Mister, I know this is wrong.
HIM Still out of view: Your trespassing!
ME: I understand that and I'm sorry!
HIM: There is a park across the street!
ME: Mister, I know that!
Me, Mister: (this part I know I said) I'm going to ask you to do something here that you probley normally wouldn't do. I'm going to ask that you let me go. Let me get my stuff and leave with out calling the cops. From one human being to another you will never see me again. (I meant every word of that).
HIM: You will just get your stuff and go?
And I did!! Fast!
He was gone when I left so I didn't see his face again. But sitting across the street in the park I saw him drive bye to make sure I was there.
I wouldn't have hurt him. And truth be told I would have waited there Intel the cops arrived. I accept responsibility for what I did. I was in the wrong. I wish I could tell you I wont be trespassing tonight at another spot...... but I will be.
Last night made me think a lot about D! Was this a "what goes around comes around" sort of thing
? This man want against the grain. And had me pinned! I can afford time in jail, I suppose. Some food. Some sleep. But the fact of the matter is that eventually for trespassing.... I would be out soon, and still homeless. I think what go to him was my voice. I thing what he heard I'm me seriousness, and sincerity. I would have earned his respect by staying there and waiting for the cops. And that would have counted for something. But he let me go. I think he just know somehow that I was trying to make it. I think he head it in my voice and decided I was worth the chance. I know I have to make this up. I have to "pay it forward". I have to pay for this crime. Not because I got cough (I'm going to trespass tonight) but because it is wrong. I know I have to do something big someday. To keep myself balanced.
What this man gave me was a chance to do something right and good. He also gave me the power to do it in my own way. I only hope I wont let him down. I hope I can pull a D.
Never invite another homeless person into your spot. As much as I'd love to say "hey man, I know a better place! Come check this out" I know that will only lead to trouble.
Every time I leave a spot I clean up my stuff. I do this because I don't want anyone to know I was there. I check and check and check to make sure that my time there is erased completely. I leave nothing behind.
When you invite another homeless person into your spot basically have to tell him (her) the house rules. And watch over them. Now you have to double check they didn't leave anything behind.
I"d set some rules like this :
1) Don't go there before 10:00 pm!
2) Don't smoke!
3) Don't tell anyone!
4) Be gone by 5:20 am!
5) pick up your stuff
Simple, however I can promise you that within two week you have this:
You show up at 10:00 pm on the dot and there is already 3 other people there. They are all drinking and smoking. Its like a little homeless party. The place is trashed with spilt beer and ash. You friend you told first doesn't know what to say to you. No one is listening to you. It smell, and you knows that not just a cigarette they are smoking. Now you see flashing lights. Now you are all arrested and going to jail. You lost the spot.
Never invite anyone into your spot. Its one thing for you to get into trouble on your own. But its another for you to get into trouble because of a bunch of other homeless people!
Thank you for reading my post today. It means a lot.
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