Monday, July 21, 2014

The End Is Near?

I'm sure you can tell by my lack of enthusiasm that I'm pretty much done.  Blogging about homelessness is no longer a thing for me.  Way beyond burn out, I'm just exhausted.   Homelessness has consumed the better part of my life.  I'd say it's more than fair that what remains of my life should be mine to do with what I want.

I'm in a good position to end my homeless journey very soon, perhaps in a couple weeks.   When that happens, I'll call "end of story" to the blog, buy myself a fishing pole, and head out to the OB pier for the next couple decades.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mattress

It's a plastic mattress but it's a mattress all the same.  It's cracked from much use. It's cold to the touch.  Sheets have trouble staying put.   But I slept on one last night, in a shelter.   A temporary location, they'll put me in another bed sometime today.

Because of the mix-up yesterday, when they finally did get me processed as a new resident, it was late, and so I didn't get much of an orientation.   I'm learning things by mistake, or second hand.  There is a rule book to learn, and the facility is overloaded with rules and regulations.   As can happen, a homeless shelter like this always response to difficult situations by creating more regulations, in an attempt to avoid continuing problems.  Of course all this does is create more issues on the other end.  It's a continuous cycle.  One person living in the shelter gets out of hand and new regulations are forced upon everyone, making life in the shelter increasingly stressful and difficult.

Of course they have more regulations and stipulations than even the staff can keep up with.  Such as the rule that every new resident must shower when coming into the shelter for the first time.  But the shelter has no towels or soap for people to use.  And the new resident begins his stay with having break one of the many rules.  And for this, many of the residents have little respect for the place - all because they place doesn't appear to have respect for them.

It is apparent that this shelter priorities the needs of their grant givers over the needs of their clients.  And the grant givers, so particular about how their money is spent, burdens the grant receivers with many regulations, and the responsibilities of maintaining those standards are put on the homeless.   The intake process made that abundantly clear with the many personal questions asked about me. It is as if the lump sum of money donated to a shelter is not equated to the requirements set forth for receiving the donation.   When they require that a shelter do 10 things but only give funding to support 8 of those things, problems are inevitable.

There's not much for me to do until next week, so I'm chilling, doing my regular routine for now, while sleeping at the shelter. The first two weeks of a person's stay at the shelter is fairly low key.  Then more responsibilities will come, such as having to do chores to help keep the place clean.

My own situation is a bit different than those who are regular residents of the shelter.  I have been placed in the shelter while my Veterans Services case manager works to get me into permanent housing.   Once I get rested up enough, and strengthened up, I think I'll try to find a job, instead of depending on a gov. check.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Total Bull Shit

Update:  I emailed my case manager from Veteran Services - she in turn contacted the St Viny shelter, got the situation straightened out, and I am now in the shelter.
~~~~~~~

So, I know this guy here in San Diego who is a self made homeless advocate, and he's a good one, making use of his considerable business acumen to assist organizations to better serve the homeless.  I first met him in Washington DC at a conference.  We meet up occasionally to talk about homeless issues of the day, and he keeps me advised about the progress being made in the homelessness industry.  He is a champion of the new paradigm concerning ending homelessness, and his influence is paying off.  More communities are embracing the Homeless First, Continuum of Care, and Rapid Rehousing models.

So, recently he contacted  (VCS) Veterans Community Services on my behalf, an organization designed to help re-house Veterans.  He was able to get me a meeting with them.   When I met with them, they said they would help as much as possible to get me housed in 90 days.

Yesterday I received a message from my advocate friend saying that he had a message for me from the VCS.  I then checked my email and found this from the case manager at VCS:
So I talked to Earlene who is the program manager at St. Vincents (otherwise known as Father Joes) and I asked since you are in the process of getting your VI-SPDAT imputed if you could stay there since there is an open bed for VI-SPDAT clients, with permission from their housing navigator and her. She is ready for you and all you have to do is show up at 1501 Imperial Ave and go to the front desk and tell them your a direct deposit and they should either contact her or tell you where to go specifically in St. Vincents. She asked if you could get there tomorrow, Wednesday, by 8 am preferably...
So I arrived there this morning at 8am.   Got into a line at the front desk, which took a half hour to get to talk to someone.   I was then told to wait in the lobby area.  I waited until 10:45am, at which time I was informed that they had no information about me in their system and that they could not accommodate me.

At hearing this I just shook my head and said, "Typical", and left.

Of course I trust people way too much, and when they say they'll do something, I have a tendency to believe that it will actually happen.  So I did a stupid thing, yesterday, on getting the above email.  My monthly payment for the YMCA was due - (the place I go to shower and where I keep a small locker for my clothes).   Thinking that I no longer needed the Y membership, seeing as I would now be staying at St. Vincents,kd I cancelled it.  And, because this afforded me an additional 50 bucks that I was saving for the membership payment, I used that money instead for a hotel room last night.

With the events, or non-events, of today, I no longer have a decent place to shower, and I no longer have a storage locker that I really need, and I'm still having to sleep on the sidewalk.  And to think, I was about to give my tent away as well - at least I still have that.

   ... and all the idiots cry out, "but the homeless have all the services they need."

   "Bull Shit" said I.  "Total Bull Shit."

Monday, July 14, 2014

Notes From The Past Couple Days

I am now in my tent, on the sidewalk, across the street from the downtown library.  I am happy with it, though my paranoia won’t ever let me live completely stress free.  I worry that someone might try to mess with the tent during the night and that I’ll be stuck in the tent, unable to get out of it, if needed.   The rational side of my brain reminds me that I’ve never seen any such thing happen before.  Also, there are plenty of people around that would deter someone from doing something that blatantly criminal.   Half, if not more of the people sleeping on the streets here are in tents, or in tent-like configurations.  Put two shopping carts about 6 feet apart and drape a tarp over it and you’re good to go.

Maybe because it’s Friday, but maybe also because of the super full moon, (which scientists say doesn’t really affect the mind), there are a lot of rowdy people out tonight, people arguing, and it’s only 8:30ish at night.  And not all the revelers are homeless, the cross street to the north is a main walkway to the clubs downtown, and to the Padre's baseball field.  Sirens are pretty regular now, about every half hour or so.  One never really knows what those are about - domestic violence on the streets - someone having a heart attack - whatever.  The annoying whine will stir you awake if you’re asleep.  

As I thought might be a concern, this particular city block I sleep on is crowded, was crowded even at 8pm when I first got here this evening.  There was only one space big enough for me to stretch out this tent - at the end of the row.   The more this area grows in demand for a place to sleep, the earlier and earlier people will show up, so to secure themselves their chunk of cement.   That is a bit of a drag on things because it means I have to stop doing my daily things earlier. The flip side bonus is that, with this tent, I can do things I wouldn’t dare do otherwise, such as pull out this laptop and type or watch movies or whatever.  There is great security for my possessions in this tent.   Without the tent, my only hope is to wake up as someone tries to steal something of mine.   If you have been following this blog, you know what softly after I arrived in San Diego someone stole my wallet as I slept.

Another benefit of the tent is that I can relax more and get more comfortable, I can lay out, I guess I could even strip down to just my underwear, though I may not do that just yet.  We’ll see how hot it gets this summer.
~~~
I am a bystander - have always been.  Life, throughout my life, is something that happens outside of myself, is all around me, but not in me.  I guess that’s why I so often wonder why I even bother making the effort to stay alive. Yes, I know, I’m barely alive as it is, doing the minimum to maintain my physical being.  I shower, I put on clean clothes when I can, I eat and drink.  When I can, I sleep.

My intellectual being spends the day attempting to understand the world that everyone else is living in. I would be reading books if it were not for the internet.  Well, the internet is one huge, living, breathing, growing, changing, book.  It makes me think of the movie “The Blob”.   The blob indiscriminately consumes everything around it, and grows in proportion to everything it has consumed.  Eventually it will consume everything, will contain everything, and will be monstrous.

I awake at sunrise, or just before.  I pack up my things and carry them with me up two blocks to the trolley station.  I ride the trolley up the hill 5 more blocks, then exit the trolley at the point it turns to the left.  i then walk up the hill an additional 3 blocks to the McDonalds.  I find an empty table and leave my things there.  I then go to the register and order my breakfast.  I carry my breakfast to the table, set the tray in front of me, and pull out my laptop and place that on the table just beyond the tray.   I open the laptop, start the operating system, plug in the head phones, and click on something to read or watch while I eat.

Once breakfast is over and I have my hands free, I might play a game for a while.  I’ve gotten into Minecraft again.  It challenges me and it gives me the opportunity to be around others, if only indirectly.   The Minecraft server that I’m on is owned by a internet company and it’s employees and friends all play on it.   Mostly though, I play by myself and don’t interact with the others, even when we are on at the same time.  But I know they are there, and that gives me a somewhat satisfying feeling.  It feels good to not feel alone.

I will sit in the McDonalds for hours until the battery runs low, then I’ll pack up and carry my things to a cafe a few blocks away.  In the cafe I sit as far away from the employees as possible.  I do that mainly because I don’t alway have money to buy something from them.   They are all used to seeing me there and I think they assume that I do buy stuff from them - either that or the just don’t care.  Either way, they’ve come to expect me to be there, and so don’t think it out of the ordinary.   The cafe has good wifi, and plenty of electrical outlets.  So, I sit there for several more hours until I get hungry.  By then the battery is recharged.

I then go have a sandwich or salad at Subway.   The Subway is below an office with open internet.  It also has one electrical outlet.  And i’m online for a while longer.  Around 4pm I get on the trolley and ride it down to the end of the line, which just happens to be a block from the YMCA where I take my showers and where I have a small locker with a couple bags of clothes.  One bag for clean clothes, the other for dirty clothes.

After showering and putting on clean clothes I get back into the trolley, heading back to way i came from, back to Park Blvd and Market St.  I get off the trolley there and walk a couple blocks to yet another cafe or sandwich shop and hook back up with the internet.  There I stay until it’s time to take my spot on the sidewalk for the night.   I live in ruts, and this is the rut I currently live in, day after day, as life goes on around me.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Might Maybe Get VA To Help

I had a meeting today with a group that works for the VA in assisting homeless vets get off the streets.  The group is very selective of those they help and so it will take a while to determine if I qualify for the help.  But the process has begun.  Just need to get a little more paper work in order.    

Sorry I haven't been blogging much lately, been tired and not very motivated.

Today I heard that the shelter tent I lived in for several months when I first moved here closed on May 31st - That explains the increase in the homeless on the streets recently.   Funny, I didn't  see anything about it in the news.  But then, I don't have a tv.

Here's to hopefully getting some sleep tonight.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Quick Update

Although I did get more sleep last night than I have since I started sleeping outside on the sidewalk, I'm still not caught up with the amount of sleep I need.  I'm still getting the nods, falling asleep at the keyboard.  When there are no crazies running around my street it's usually quiet and I get more sleep. Thing is I can't help it if someone schizo has a late night episode, and begins ranting and raving.

I ran out of money early this month due to some previous financial obligations, and I really must thank the people who came forward in the last week or so and donated to my cause.  It really makes a difference in how much a person suffers on the street.  It's all suffering anyways, but when a person can get some of their needs met, by way of donation, or what have you, it lessens the burden.

I have slept in a great many places while homeless, mostly in shelters, but in cars, in other people's homes for short periods, in alleyways, in abandoned buildings and not abandoned buildings, but for all I've done, this is now the longest single stretch of cement surfing I've ever done.  I've done it before, here an there but not this many days in a row.  In seven days from now, it will be a full month.  It is do-able.  It would be even more do-able if society cut people some slack and not harassed the non-sheltered homeless so much. The harassment has already been proven ineffective in dealing with homelessness.  Politicians should not let their constituents dictate their agenda so much.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Oh, It Is Saturday

I had no idea what day it is today.  I was thinking it a weekday, most likely Friday.    The lack of sleep has made me tired, the kind of tired that puts you in a zone where you know better than to over exert  yourself.  You go into low gear, mentally and physically.  Things like knowing what day it is, are put on the back burner.  I didn't realize until I just looked on my computer screen that today is Saturday, the weekend.  If I had known what day it was, I would have slept in.  Instead, when I awoke around 5am, I packed up my things and head to McDonalds as my place to wake up.  I have notice that the homeless living on the streets are not harassed so much on the weekends.  I could have slept another couple hours this morning without harassment.  ugh.

We had another floor show last night - for those who don't know, I'm talking about the schizophrenics who wander the streets late at night screaming and yelling at their demons. They can prevent you from getting a decent night's sleep. Some times you can understand a story behind their rantings, other times they growl and groan instead, venting their souls of perpetual anguish.  Why can't schizophrenics suffer from an overabundance of happiness instead?   Makes me think that mental illness is not so caused by a chemical imbalance but by mistreatment at the hands of others - this mistreatment is what causes the chemical imbalance, of which only more chemicals can correct it.

I skipped taking a shower yesterday.  Being on my computer all day, it's not like I built up a sweat during the day.   But I must remember to take one today.

Friday, June 20, 2014

More Crazy

Why is it that the crazy people wait until the wee hours of the morning to have their screaming fits?  Again most of last night I couldn't get any sleep.  This nut case kept yelling every 1/2 hour or so throughout the night.  I'd just get to sleep and he'd start up again.   Funny that last week was relatively quiet, but this week I can't get no sleep.  argh. just 11 more days until the 1st, I can't wait.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tired

Sorry, I haven't posted much today, I'm feeling exhausted from a lack of sleep.  Hopefully tonight I'll get some good hours in.   I have the nods so bad right now, I almost fell out of my chair. ugh.

The Homeless Guy's Wants And Needs

Here is a wish list of sorts, of things I could really use, or I would really like to have.  (Even homeless people dream).   This list is beyond that of "I would like a home and a good paying job, etc.

  • Sandals - leather preferably with the strap that goes behind the heal
  • Suspenders - with the metal clips
  • Bandanas
  • A bicycle
  • A trailer to pull behind the bike
  • A means of securing the trailer so that no one steals it or its contents
  • A yoga pad for under my sleeping bag
  • A one/two person tent
  • A regular mouse for my new laptop - some things I do on the laptop require a mouse
  • An iPhone
  • A fishing pole and tackle gear
  • Funding to start a homeless/street newspaper in San Diego

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Things I Did Today

I got up at 5:15ish this morning and headed to McDonalds and a little breakfast and a lot of wifi.  A little more money has come in through paypal, so I was able to get something to eat. (thank you, kind people). While there I wrote in my blog and did all my usual internet things, facebook and more facebook, and checking mail and blog comments.  Once the laptop battery was exhausted I headed down to the YMCA where I keep a locker with my clothes in it.  I grabbed everything piece of clothing I had and made my way to a laundromat, and did a load of laundry.  Not to be too gross, but I hadn't worn anything clean in a week.   After laundry I took my clothes back to the locker and took a shower.  I tell ya, there's nothing quite as nice has having clean clothes on a clean body, especially when you're homeless.  It is hard to relax when homeless, but have clean clothes, etc., does help in that regard.  (thanks again to the people who sent money, so that I could do laundry).   Then I rode the bus back to the East Village and have been sitting in a cafe ever since, doing even more internet stuff.  But I'm done with all that and I still have about 3 hours left before I head back to my sleeping area.  Now, what should I do for the next three hours?

Homeless Terms To Know - Community Buy-in


The government, through HUD, is very interested in supporting communities that are adapting to the new ways of dealing with homelessness - that being Housing First, Rapid Rehousing, Continuum of Care, etc  But it insists that the community be involved in a supporting capacity.  HUD isn't going to handle our homelessness issues for us. Before any community can receive help form HUD, it must prove that they are embracing these new concepts.  The biggest part of the "buy-in" requires that local finances are being dedicated to the project.  Local Charities and financial institutions much show that they are supporting these efforts financially.  Only then will HUD step up and assist the community with support, mainly of the financial variety. HUD gauges it's financial support directly on how much the community is doing for itself.

Back to Homeless Terms To Know

The Sun Also Rises

Well, it was a close one.  At 8pm I walked down to my sleeping area to find that the cops had already arrived and were chasing everyone away - with ticket books in hand.  If I had shown up just 15 minutes prior, I would have been caught up in this mini dragnet.   I watched the scene for a couple minutes before heading back here to the cafe.  It happened about 3 and 1/2 weeks ago there as well, but that time it was in the morning.  Over the past 3 weeks the number of people sleeping in this area, across the street, and trolley tracks, from the library, had returned and was slowly growing.  With tickets given to these homeless violators of the law, I'm sure if they are caught sleeping in the same place again, they'll get a worse punishment.  I'm speculating of course, but why else would the cops even bother.

The sad part of all this is that the area is the safest of all the homeless sleeping areas.  It is safe for the very reason that it's also highly visible to the people who live near by, and it's a high foot traffic area.  The sidewalk is very wide and the sleeping homeless don't create any hazards by being there.  Still for the sake of those people who feel put out by having to see homeless people, the homeless are being shooed away.

And that "away" is a problem.  Just because you can no longer see the homeless does not mean the homeless are no longer homeless.  It only means that these people are being forced to go deeper into hiding.  The bad thing is, these "hiding" places are a great deal more dangerous for the homeless.  The criminal element is encouraged to ply his craft when he thinks there's a good chance he won't get caught.   In these deeper hiding areas the homeless get mugged, their few meager possessions stolen, their bodies broken by fists and baseball bats and knives, they are set on fire, they are killed.

The city of San Diego does not have enough shelter beds for all the homeless, and all the shelters have long waiting lists.  But sure, go ahead San Diego, and try to sweep the homeless under your proverbial rug.  Maybe if you ignore the homeless in your city, eventually they'll go away [/sarcasm].

So much for getting a good night's sleep.  If you have ever wondered why so many homeless people appear lethargic, it's because the good city will not allow the homeless the chance to get the rest they need.

Now I have no idea where I'm going to sleep tonight.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Homeless Clean Consequences

Well, it was a close one.  At 8pm I walked down to my sleeping area to find that the cops had already arrived and were chasing everyone away - with ticket books in hand.  If I had shown up just 15 minutes prior, I would have been caught up in this mini dragnet.   I watched the scene for a couple minutes before heading back here to the cafe.  It happened about 3 and 1/2 weeks ago there as well, but that time it was in the morning.  Over the past 3 weeks the number of people sleeping in this area, across the street, and trolley tracks, from the library, had returned and was slowly growing.  With tickets given to these homeless violators of the law, I'm sure if they are caught sleeping in the same place again, they'll get a worse punishment.  I'm speculating of course, but why else would the cops even bother.

The sad part of all this is that the area is the safest of all the homeless sleeping areas.  It is safe for the very reason that it's also highly visible to the people who live near by, and it's a high foot traffic area.  The sidewalk is very wide and the sleeping homeless don't create any hazards by being there.  Still for the sake of those people who feel put out by having to see homeless people, the homeless are being shooed away.

And that "away" is a problem.  Just because you can no longer see the homeless does not mean the homeless are no longer homeless.  It only means that these people are being forced to go deeper into hiding.  The bad thing is, these "hiding" places are a great deal more dangerous for the homeless.  The criminal element is encouraged to ply his craft when he thinks there's a good chance he won't get caught.   In these deeper hiding areas the homeless get mugged, their few meager possessions stolen, their bodies broken by fists and baseball bats and knives, they are set on fire, they are killed.

The city of San Diego does not have enough shelter beds for all the homeless, and all the shelters have long waiting lists.  But sure, go ahead San Diego, and try to sweep the homeless under your proverbial rug.  Maybe if you ignore the homeless in your city, eventually they'll go away [/sarcasm].

So much for getting a good night's sleep.  If you have ever wondered why so many homeless people appear lethargic, it's because the good city will not allow the homeless the chance to get the rest they need.

Now I have no idea where I'm going to sleep tonight.

Mondays Update

Stretching it.   So, this is me when money is tight.

I have a membership at the Y for 44 dollars a month, plus another 6 dollars a month for the locker.  The locker is immensely valuable. I am able to store all my clothes and important papers in it.  That is safety!  And it means I don't have to lug another big bag around with me.  Anyway, the cost is deducted out of my bank account on the 15th of each month, usually.   So, for the past week or so I've been watching my bank account dwindle little by little, 60 dollars, then 56 dollars, then 53 dollars.  I was guessing just how much money I could use and still have enough in the account to pay the bill when the automatic draft occurred.  Then someone sent me money through paypal.  Woohoo!  So, I withdrew that money from paypal and sent it to my bank account.  That action takes 3 to 4 days according to paypal.  Well in actuality it only takes 2.

Then the weekend hit.   My thought was, I could sure use a coke at McDonalds.  If I buy one, it will put me under the 50 dollar limit I need to maintain to assure the bill gets paid when it goes to my bank account.  Ah, but I have this paypal money coming. Maybe it will come to the account at the same time as the bill and so everything will be covered - well sure, if everything goes the way I hope it will go.   The risk is that if I get the refreshing coke, then on Monday I'll suffer an overdraft fee and that coke will end up costing me 30 dollars more.


I was jonesing for the coke so I went ahead and got it, putting myself in peril.  What do I care?  I'm a homeless bum, it's not like anything is getting any worse for me.  Just par for the course.

Well, lucky me.  the paypal money came and the bill did not.  I'm safe.   Now, before you judge me for my less than pristine actions, you must understand that when a person is homeless, having something you desperately want is a tremendous relief, even if it's risky.

On another note -

Last night, I tried talking to one of the other people who sleeps in the same area - up against the wall of an old warehouse.  He locates himself just 15 feet away from me.  He is the Walmart greeter type.  He tries to have something pleasant to say to every person who walks by, whether they are homeless, not homeless, rich or poor, English speaking or not.   He was already there when I first started sleeping in the area a couple weeks ago.  I commented that he's been around a while.  He told me that he actually owns the building we are sleeping against, and that he received it as part of an inheritance, and that he was sleeping outside because he was renting out the building to some college kids who needed the help.  Of course I don't buy any of that, but who am I to argue?  That he pays attention to what's going on around the area, and lets people know it by engaging them with a short hello, makes the area much safer.

Also last night, I was awakened, as I so often am, by two people having an argument. One homeless man was yelling at another for dumping his piss bottle into a nearby planter.   "Hey man, stop doing that! We'll get in trouble for shit like that."  "It's just water" was the reply. "bullshit"! blah blah blah. The argument when on for a a couple more minutes.   Then I thought to myself, "Damn, that's what I do.  I piss in a bottle and then dump it into one of the nearly planters."  I better not do that.... when that dude is watching."


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Again With The Aspergers Syndrome

It's 7:30pm and I am just now sitting down to write something for today.  The Sun is starting it's final descent into the ocean, and darkness will soon begin creeping up over the land and sky.  It was another extraordinary day, weather wise here and I spent all but a half hour of it inside on my laptop.  That is how I spend all my days, pretty much.  I know it's not good but it's all I've got.   When I do venture out to the beach or other social gathering place, all I see are people gathering and socializing.

The problem is that I don't gather, and I don't socialize.  Now, before you get on your mucky muck horse of petty advice, and tell me that I just need to get out there and give it a try, know that I've been down that road an infinity number of times already, and it just doesn't work for me.   Still, if you paid any attention to what you read on my blog, you'd know that already and I wouldn't have to tell you to bugger off.  That advice goes over like a lead ballon - pretty much like the advice to "just be yourself".  Being myself only gets me in trouble. I'm 53 years old for Christ's sake, and I've been living with me for nearly the entire time.

The problem isn't, and has never been, that I "won't" do it. The problem is that I "can't" do it.  Of course no one wants to hear such a thing, it sounds too much like accepting defeat, and people in this day and age shutter at the thought.  It goes against all the mythology they've developed about themselves, their country, and the world.  It is so anti-capitalism.  And how dare anyone say anything derogatory about capitalism - the greatest invention since usury.

No, the problem is none of that.  It has nothing to do with me lacking discipline or character.  It has to do with the fact that I trapped in Autistic mind.  "On the spectrum," "high functioning," Aspergers Syndrome.

Of course what I find most perplexing, of all the perplexing things about my life, is that this revelation is meaningless to most people.  All those people who were put off by my behavior, were offended by the things I said, they are not now returning to say, "Oh, I get it now, lets' give it another try".  Naw, instead they hold on to those feelings of indignation.  All the people I ever tried to have meaningful relationships with, they seem to prefer to keep the severed ties severed.  They don't want to consider me in light of this new information.

My life has no people in it.  And it's like dying.   I imagine only other Aspies would get it.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Turned Away From The Library

The Culprit

I walked through the front door of the downtown library but was not allowed to proceed.  I was then told I had to leave.  My violation?  Carrying a sleeping bag.  All rolled up and tucked neatly into its carrying case, somehow it became problematic for the venue.  I asked the security guard "why".  She said, "because it's the rules".  I asked, "But why it is a rule?"   She told me that I'd have to talk to someone with the city about that.  She said I could come in if I left the sleeping bag outside.  I told her someone would steal it.  She said I could have someone watch it for me.  I told her I don't know anyone I could trust to watch it.   I asked her if she thought the rule was fair.  She said she was just doing her job.

All the old cliche' come out - "I'm only doing my job" - "In the grand equality of the law it is just as illegal for a rich man as for a poor man to bring a sleeping bag into a library."

I think what gets me the most is that I have been allowed to carry my sleeping bag into every conceivable place without a problem - Cafe's, Grocery Stores, Restaurants, Fast Food places, shopping malls and their stores, movie theaters - you name it, in my many years of homelessness, the ONLY place I've not been allowed to bring a sleeping bag with me is the public library - yeah, so much for the word 'PUBLIC.'

The security guard gave me a list of the rules of the library.   This is sad mostly because of all the different types of people, the homeless need the services of the public library the most.

Here is the list.  It begins with this preface:
    To allow library patrons and staff to use the library's facilities without disturbance or undue interference, and to provide a clean, pleasant and safe environment, please consider your fellow library users and staff and refrain from the following in the library.
  1. Smoking, eating, or drinking, bringing open containers of food or drink in the library.
  2. Sleeping or loitering.
  3. Using loud, abusive, threatening or insulting language.
  4. Engaging in any disruptive or unsafe behavior.
  5. Disturbing, offending, intimidating, annoying, or harassing others.
  6. Leaving a child under the age of 8 unattended.
  7. Bringing any containers, packages, briefcases, parcels, or bundles into the library which singly or collectively exceed 24"x18"x6".  All items not prohibited are subject to inspection.
  8. Bringing shopping carts or wheeled conveyances into the building, with the exception of wheelchairs and baby strollers/carriages used for the actual transport of a person or child or wheeled backpacks and book carriers not exceeding 24"x15"x12" (excluding handles).
  9. Bringing any animal into the building, with the exception of service animals accompanying a person with disabilities.  As defined, a service animal (dog or miniature horse) is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.  The animals work or tasks must directly relate to the handlers disability.
  10. Bringing sleeping bags, bed-rolls, or blankets into the building (blankets for small children are acceptable).
  11. Coming into the library without wearing shoes and a shirt.
  12. Using cell phones and/or similar communication defies or software inside the library.  Ringer volumes should be set to vibrate and use should be restricted to the lobby or outside the building.
  13. Distributing handbills or flyers, soliciting signatures for petitions, selling merchandise, or other similar activities that may disrupt patrons use and enjoyment of the library.
  14. Interfering with another person's use of the library, or the library staff's performance of their duties.
  15. Engaging in any activity prohibited by law.
I admit to getting a little hot under the collar when I was told to leave.  Luckily someone caught the incident on camera.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

All Was Quiet

I have my favorite spot to sleep at night.  It affords me as much privacy and safety as I can hope for considering it is just a section of concrete sidewalk.

I remember, several years ago in Nashville, this guy whose head was bashed in with a hammer as he slept.  I’m hoping to avoid a similar fate.   There is just enough room for me to fit my backpack and my head between two solid pieces of metal comfortably. Although my legs extend out into the sidewalk, it’s a very wide sidewalk and most people walk on the far side of it anyway.  I won’t be tripping anyone as they walk, even if they don't recognize that a person is there.  Besides, there are another dozen or so people doing the same sort of thing along this one city block.

I also made sure that the sleeping bag I recently bought was long enough to cover me entirely.  Although it gets uncomfortably warm to do so, I can cover myself completely within the bag.   The less of me that people can see, the less vulnerable I feel.  Next month, when I can afford to collect some more necessities, I’m getting a small tent.  I think it will go a long way towards getting a better nights sleep.   Ah, but that’s 3 weeks away.

I dread having to leave whatever I’m doing, usually internet surfing, so to bed down for the night, that part of me wants to put it off as long as possible. I also worry that if I arrive at my spot too late someone else might get it, and I’ll have to go looking for another spot. That would be a hassle, as well potentially unsafe. I have been going to bed earlier and earlier each night.

I awoke several times during the night.  Either I was in an uncomfortable position and needed to adjust, or someone was making noise, or I had to urinate.  Now, back when I was in the shelter tent, it was strictly forbidden to pee in a bottle.   The problem there was the portajohns were at least 100 yards away.  Having to get up and make that trek was difficult at times.  Some times I didn’t quite make it in time. Ah, but on the street, I can pee in a bottle all I want. I don’t even need to get up. I just grab the bottle, bring it under the sleeping bag, and hope there’s no spillage.

In the middle of the night last night something completely different woke me up.  It was the police.  Well, it was the sound of a police radio. Cops were standing near by.  I thought, “great, we are having a sweep”.  Should I get up and just leave, hoping they would leave me alone if did?

Then I started listening to the conversation one cop was having on the polioe radio.  They seemed to be focused on just one individual.  I then wondered if I  would be next.

But this homeless woman they were talking to didn’t seem right.  She was babbling on in spanish.  They were having a hard time understanding her.  The way she carried on, she may not have been understanding herself.

The cop asked her, “where’d you get that bump on your head’?   Did you fall, or did someone hit you?   Can you stand up? (she couldn’t).  Have you been drinking?”  She kept saying something bout her husband.  From where I was it was mostly inaudible.  Then I could hear the siren of an ambulance getting nearer.  All this was going on without me being able to see anything, being that I was covered.

Again I wondered if the cops would approach me next.  But after the woman was put into the ambulance and the paramedics packed up their gear and drove away, the sound of police radio faded away as well.  And I fell asleep again.  When I awoke hours later, all was quiet.

Park And Market


The corner of Park Blvd and Market St is the hub of all my daily activities, so I thought I'd share a few pictures of it with you. (Park Blvd is also known as 12th Ave.)

Park Blvd runs north and south, and if you were to continue north on Park Blvd from this point, you'd arrive at the famed Balboa Park, which includes many museums, the Old Globe Theatre, and the San Diego Zoo.   Market St runs east and west through the middle of downtown San Diego.

At the intersection of Park and Market is a trolley station.  I keep a monthly pass so that I can ride wherever I need to go, by trolley or bus. At the south east corner of Park and Market is a Chinese express fast food restaurant.  Two blocks west on Market is a grocery store, a Starbucks, a TomNToms cafe, and The District, a sandwich shop, all of which I request during the month.




One block south, on the corner of Park and Island is the Palms Hotel.  When first built it was called the Bay View Hotel.  I guess that's because when it was built in the 1800s it had an unobstructed view of San Diego Bay (later to be called the Harbor).   Wyatt Earp and his wife lived in the second floor corner unit for a couple years after the civil war, while he operated 4 casinos in what was called the Stingabee section of downtown - an area known for its vice and corruption.

Another block south and you'll find the area where I, and many other homeless people sleep at night.  On the west side of the street, relatively clear of all homeless people is the new San Diego Central
Library.

In the other direction (north), a half mile from the intersection, is the McDonalds I frequent.  Across from the McDonalds is Sand Diego City College.

East on Market, beyond Park Blvd are located several apartment buildings for the elderly and mentally disabled, their rent is still beyond my reach. But I tell you about them because these people are the real flavor of the neighborhood - People in wheel chairs and on walkers, people panhandling and carousing, getting drunk and arguing with each other, all hanging out for no particular reason in front of the corner market and the trolley station.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Christina K. Yang


I just received an encouraging note from Christina Yang, (thank you) so I went to check out her blog. Well folks, I just gotta tell you, some people just blow me away with their talent.  She's an amazing artist.  Go to her blog at http://christinakyang.blogspot.com and be inspired.  The painting above is a self portrait. I appreciate good artwork, and her's is exceptional.

Not Feeling It

I'm tired, and still a little sick, I have a head ache, I'm hungry, and I'm out of money.

With money I can avoid the uglier aspects of homelessness. I feel depressed and disappointed and disillusioned.  Thousands of people have seen my donation buttons but almost no one donates.   Yes, I did recently raise money for a new laptop, but all of that money came from old acquaintances, people who have known about my blog for a long time.   None of the donations for the laptop came from new or current readers.  Additionally, I've been cranking out relevant content about homelessness for a long time. and yet my blog only shows up on the 5th page of google on the keyword search for "homeless".  There are articles over a year old that rate higher on google than my blog does.  It feels like my blog is being purposely buried.   What's the point of my effort here if no one hears me, if no one stands behind what I do?   Sometimes I feel like shutting down this blog, but being that I'm the only one who really cares about it, the only one that would effect is me.   It's like playing the game Minecraft.  You build a whole world that only you will ever see.  The enjoyment of it seems hollow.

I'm in a crappy mood.  Makes me feel vindictive.  Makes me want to tell people what I really think of them.  If people have ever thought I've said mean things about them, they should know that I have always held back.  I want to blast people, stupid and mean-spirited people who have harmed me in the past.   Should I bring up even more of the crap my parents did in their rather lame attempt to raise me?  Should I write about all the things my ex-wife did, so that our kids can know what a really bad wife and mother she was?  No?  Should I really carry all of that to my grave?   Did you know that sometimes I feel stressed?

Oh, btw, there are two knuckle heads sending me hate mail.  Just want to let them that their messages now go directly to the trash without being read.

Homeless - Anything Will Help

Seriously, I'm begging here.   I need financial assistance to make it through the month.