Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Ok, so I've been having lots of changes - transitions taking place in my life, in the past month. Time to review and revise just about everything. I have now been in a place of my own for a month, after 3 years of homelessness. My kids are growing up fast. My relationship with my ex-wife seems to be on the mends - we just might end up being friends after all. I've been blogging less, and spending more time having more direction connection with people via Secondlife.com. I have made a small purchase of land in Second Life, and have started a group dedicated to creating avenues of communication between homeless people and the rest of the world. And I hope you'll join the group once you've joined Second Life. Of course please use my Second Life name, Rez Messing, as a referral so that I can get credit for bringing you aboard. Once in Second Life, so a people search for "Rez Messing," or group search under "homeless," to find me and my group in-world. I believe communcation between you and I will work out much better that way, instead of via blog posts and emails. And yes, I am in-world a lot.
On top of all that, I'm getting back into Associated Content. Where I will be sending most of my writing - cause they will pay me for it. They don't pay much, but if I do a lot of writing, mostly on subjects other than homelessness, then I should be able to at least pay some of my bills that way. Still, I am dependent to and extent on donations from the blog. So, if you feel like supporting my causes, please don't hesitate to do so - you can click on the donation button in the right hand column and use your credit card, or paypal account. And please visit my Associated Content page and read my articles. The more people read my writing, the more AC will pay me. So, for goodness sakes, click away.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Just a little over 18 years ago, I watched my son come into the world. Born at Baptist Hospital, I was there to witness the event.
Yesterday, I watched him take that ceremonial step into adulthood as he accepted his high school diploma.
I got to shake his hand. He gave me a hug. I got to tell him that I was proud of him. He gave me a smile, and told me he was glad I could be there.
He was given the John Philip Sousa Award.
Because the person who gave me the ride down to my son's home town, about an hour's drive from Nashville, had to get back, I couldn't stay too long. But it was a good few minutes I got to spend with my son. Quality time.
My daughter was there too, and though at our last encounter she seemed a bit leery of me, before I left, she came around from her mothers side to give me a hug too.
I couldn't have asked for more.
Tim Hortons employee scolds Good Samaritan after buying homeless woman breakfast Breaking News print this article
THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO — No good deed involving doughnuts, it appears, goes unpunished.
The company is in hot water again, two weeks after an employee at a Tim Hortons in London, Ont., was fired, then rehired, after she gave a child a free Timbit.
This time a Toronto investment manager who bought breakfast for a pregnant homeless woman at a Tim Hortons downtown was scolded by a restaurant employee unhappy that the homeless woman stayed in the restaurant to eat.
The employee told Teresa Lee the Tim Hortons does not let homeless people eat inside, even if they are eating Tim Hortons food, because they "make a mess."
Tim Hortons spokeswoman Rachel Douglas wrote in an e-mail to the Toronto Star on Thursday that the homeless woman had been "disruptive to customers and staff" on "several" occasions in the past.
But Douglas did not say the woman had caused any problems Wednesday morning, and she apologized later to Lee.
Douglas said Tim Hortons does not have a policy on the treatment of the homeless; it is up to franchises to "make delicate judgment decisions when dealing with any disruptive customers to ensure the store is pleasant, comfortable and safe."
But she acknowledged the woman had not been disruptive Wednesday before the employee rebuked Lee.
"What happened here was the act of a Good Samaritan and we agree it was not handled in the best of manners. We have since apologized to the customer."
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
So, I was walking down 5th ave towards Panera Bread, where I am now using the wifi, and I passed a group of cops and a homeless man. Some of the cop cars lights were still flashing. The homeless guy sat upon a short wall. I had no idea why they stopped the guy, might have been for panhandling, might have been for something else. Also, to look at the homeless guy, you wouldn't know him to be homeless. I only know him as homeless cause I've seen him around the haunts.
Anyway, all seemed rather calm and casual about the pull over, as I walked passed. Then a half a block later, a group of three people pass me up going in the opposite direction, towards the cops and the homeless guy. And I overheard one of the three tell the others, "yeah, most of these panhandlers have homes. Panhandling is just what they do for a job." I was tempted to say something to them, but I didn't. I just became a little more discouraged.
There are groups actively going to downtown businesses and residents, posing as experts on homelessness, and telling the most egregious lies about homeless people and the lives they lead. These groups are actually doing the bidding of developers selling downtown property. The developers fear the presence of homeless people scares of potential buyers. Of course that actually isn't a proven fact. And there's plenty of evidence that nobody really cares that there are homeless people in downtown. The rescue mission moved to a new part of downtown back in 2000, and though some complained of the mission being in their back yard, that area of downtown has actually experienced a lot of growth - new businesses are moving near the mission all the time. And no one has had to move away.
Still, the spread of ignorance continues, and the homeless suffer the consequences.
Yes, I occasionally receive these kinds of comments and emails - I'll highlight it below.
The problem with this way of thinking is that it is more narrow than what exists in reality. These people believe that there are only two sides to every subject. This gives away their lack of real knowledge about the world and the way it works. But, thinking this way is much more convenient, and you don't have to expend much energy on it. Really, it is the way of the intellectually lazy.
If anyone has spent any time reading this blog (reading is an intellectual pursuit), then you would know all the reasons why at this time I am not employed. And it has nothing to do with whether or not I like to work, or whether or not I have adequate courage, or whether or not I'm an "American."
I will not reply directly to the accusations in the comment, this blog is enough of a defense. It will be on the people reading this blog to put enough energy into reading it to find it. And if they can't or won't, there's not much I can do about it.
Here is a comment I received just this morning. Can you find where it goes wrong?
I don't get it. You complain about being homeless and now you are asking for contributions to help you pay your rent. I hate my job, boss, etc. It takes real courage just to get out of bed in the morning but, if I didn't I, too, would be homeless. I know it sucks but that is the way the America works. By the by, of your remark, "Do you want fries with that", are you writing that flipping burgers is beneath you? (I guess you won't post this comment because you don't approve of the content.)
Monday, May 19, 2008
I had an idea to write more about my social anxieties and how they have effected my whole life - and how it seems most homeless people suffer from anxieties. But, it's not in my head now. At the moment I can't really concentrate to write.
I will tell you something matter-of-factly. I've got 10 days to come up with the rent for next month - a total of $150.00. If you'd like to help out with that, I wouldn't deny you.
My case manager is setting up a meeting for me to meet a "vocation specialist".
"Would you like fries with that?"
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Old difficulties, demons, desperation, return as I attempt to leave homelessness, in the same order I left them behind. Like that great adventurer in Jules Vernes classic, Journey to The Center of The Earth, I am riding atop a tumultuous geyser blast out of the pit of the earth. If anything were to go wrong now, it would be disastrous. Not only would I not make it completely out of homelessness, but my situation would be worse than ever before. I must make myself completely free and clear of all issues of homelessness, or else.
Becoming homeless was never an "undertaking of a great adventure." And I'm not sure how "great" it has been, but I confess it has been adventurous. And though there are certain connotations with the word "adventurous," please disallow yourself the inclination to think anything "fun" or "joyful" could be inferred in its use.
As muddled as my mind was when entering the other worldliness of street life, I have since only sought out to cleanse my mind, and to perceive homelessness will all clarity; so to relay it to you completely, with unspoiled truth. Doing so is the only way that I can reclaim any benefit from the many years I've spent living homeless, that might otherwise be considered a waste.
Yes, being homeless is, in a way, an escaping from many of life's difficulties, but please believe me, it is a wrong turn. You find yourself at a dead end - homelessness is a lifeless black pit from which escape seems impossible.
Often homeless people are accused of only seeking a means of avoiding responsibility, but nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, in the pit of homelessness, there are few "responsibilities," but the reason for being in the pit is something entirely different. What drives a person into the pit is an indescribably ugly thing. And I only hope one day to be able convey what that ugliness is, in a way that others can understand it. It is one of purposes of this blog.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
The people who cause problems for the homeless have problems themselves. They obsess over the smallest interactions they have with the homeless. A look, a question, (buddy can you spare a dime?), being on the same side of the street, just existing. Why these people totally freak out, when even considering the homeless situation, is beyond me. But, they do. And they aren't your normal crazy people. They are supposed pillars of the community, business men, lawyers, doctors, church pastors, etc. Oh, and they will be vocal about their concerns over the homeless. They want everyone else to be just as upset about homeless people being in "their" city as they are. They will go to extreme lengths to spread their prejudice against the homeless. They will call their mayor and city council, they will bend the ear of their police chief, they will attend community meetings, and even talk disparagingly about the homeless in their churches.
Tommy Longaberger is one such case. Recently, his claim of being assaulted by a homeless man was turned to mince meat - the homeless man was quickly found not guilty at trial by jury. Most homeless people, though, are not so inclined to fight such charges This only exasperates the plight of all homeless, and encourages crazy people to keep up the harassment of the homeless.
While the case was ongoing, Tommy Longaberger even created a web page, trying to "try" the case in the public webosphere. I didn't learn about this page until the Nashville Scene article ran recently. It is mentioned in a previous post here.
Well, you can find it the following links. Please click on them and read the hysterical-ness of Mr Longaberger, and his exaggerated claims. Notice the particular claim that Steve Reiter had "fire coming from his eyes" just before he supposedly attacked Mr Longaberger. This is the kind of crap homeless people have to deal with on a daily basis. It only makes life for the homeless more difficult. it makes getting out of homelessness almost impossible. Why in the world was he writing all those long letters? And why did he make them public? (Me thinks he doth protest too much!) In at least one of the letters, Mr Longaberger, a lawyer calls me a felon. A Felon? No, I am no felon. In another, he says I have TWO stalking convictions. That is also a lie. Isn't that defamation of character? Should I sue him for it?
I don't Hate Anyone
Father Charles Strobel Letter
The City Paper Story
A Letter To The Editor
Longaberger Quotes Me
They up and took over an abandoned house. You can see some pictures of the event.
The next day, they were evicted. Read the following description of the event:
Homeless advocates marched to a vacant house near Dickerson Road on Wednesday and helped Howard Allen Jr., a homeless man, move into the three-bedroom home.
For months, Allen had been sleeping on a bench at the bus stop behind the Sommet Center in downtown Nashville.
After setting up a makeshift bed in the federal Housing and Urban Development residence on Flamingo Drive, the man said, "My brain has a sanctuary and now my body has a sanctuary.''
But five hours later, Metro Police forced Allen and other homeless representatives off the property. Allen and two other people were cited for trespassing.
"Time has worn thin for talking and no action," said Allen, who has served on several homeless commissions. "I'm willing to go to jail for this."
Homeless advocates maintain that it makes sense for the homeless to move into the publicly funded building rather than allowing it to sit empty.
The nonprofit Nashville Homeless Power Project used a mid-day march to make the point. About 40 homeless advocates left the Metro Courthouse on James Robertson Parkway and walked to the house, where police were directing traffic but did not immediately intervene.
Later, Pyramid Real Estate Services, which is trying to sell the home for HUD, asked police to remove them.
Organization officials say they've already taken over a dozen vacant HUD homes in Davidson County, but this was the first time they made their intentions public.
"It's a point we appreciate, but we don't advocate breaking the law to do it,'' said Brian Sullivan, a spokesman for HUD in Washington, D.C. He said the home is for sale, and that as long as it's occupied it can't be sold.
Allen said he had sent an application and a check to HUD to legitimize his occupation of the home, and that he intended to pay more as he continues in his new temp agency job.
He says he has a criminal record stemming from a voter fraud conviction, a nonviolent felony, and says that makes it difficult for him and other offenders to get housing.
"I've messed up but I've paid my debts. I was a failure and now I'm a success,'' he said.
Between January 2007 and January 2008, the number of homeless men and women sleeping outdoors in Nashville grew about 19 percent, from 390 to 466, according to the Metropolitan Development and Housing Authority.
Homeless advocate Cheri Honkala, began doing housing takeovers 20 years ago in Minnesota. She and her son were living in their car but the makeshift home was totaled in an accident.
"It was that day we had to make a decision: Move forward and take over an abandoned house or stay on the street and freeze to death," said Honkala, who works with homeless advocates across the nation.
Honkal was cited along with Allen and Jeannie Alexander, program director for the Nashville organization.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Remember the story of Steve? Oh, it seems like so long ago now. Steve, a homeless man, was accused of assaulting a lawyer who lived downtown. It was an ugly scene, sometimes venturing into the absurd. I wrote about it way back when - who fights for homeless people's rights?
Well, FINALLY the case made it to court and Steve was found NOT GUILTY!
There is a good article in the Nashville Scene that encapsulates the story fairly well, please read it.
Fight The Powerless
Hopefully, other homeless people will take courage in this outcome and start to fight the many frivolous charges brought up against them. It's seems the only way to stop the endless and meaningless harassment.
A related article from way back Tommy Longaberger
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Tokyo Dreaming is a very interesting article about a segment of the Japanese population we in the States would call homeless. These people, who cannot afford homes but are constantly working, are able to find a way to not live, or sleep, on the streets. At least they are afforded some level of respectability. Something here in the USA we do not do. As "advanced" as the USA is compared to other countries, as far as creature comforts, the one thing we lack here is a general respect for other people. For being so "free," we Americans are the most judgmental and social status conscientious people. We are certainly the quickest people at deeming others as unequal to ourselves, and thus undeserving of our respect.
In the above article you'll read about homelessness from a different perspective, in a different culture. It could change the way you see homelessness. Please, read the article, I highly recommend it.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
I've been trying to figure out a new daily routine. Food will now come from different sources than I'm used to. I have farther to walk to the places I need to get to. Though, the distance isn't so great that it's too far to walk. Actually I'm eating less and walking more, so that's a good thing.
I've been talking to people about the household things I need, and some things have come, other stuff has been promised. Still, I'll need to find someone with a truck, as I am wanting to get a better mattress and box spring. The box spring I have right now is really old - so old it has mold growing on it.
I recently watched "Memoirs of A Geisha" and again I'm taken with the Japanese culture - at least the historical culture. I have always wanted to have the decor of a traditional Japanese house - with lots of bamboo, tatami mats, paper decorations, and a rock garden. I doubt there's much of that to be had here in Nashville.
I've been forcing myself to cook, which I haven't done in a long time. A can of beans, a can of potatoes, and some cooked ground beef, all mixed together. Easy and filling.
And I will definitely have to find a cheaper way to access the internet. The library does not allow Second Life over their WiFi. So, I have to go to some cafe or restaurant and buy a coke, or something to justify sitting there for hours. At a buck and a half, minimum, every day, it gets expensive.
There are some big things about to happen with Second Life, of which I hope to be a part. Can't tell you about it just yet as things are not finalized. But if it works out, I'll be expanding my reach in a big way. Sorry, can't give any details, but it's what I've been working on here the past few days, internet wise. And one of the reasons I haven't been blogging.
Thank you for all your kind words and support you've sent concerning my new apartment. It's nice to be able to take a nap in the middle of the day if I feel the need, to go without shoes on for most the day, to take a shower when I need to, to eat when I feel the urge. I haven't felt this rested in a long time.
I've got some good posts coming. Just gotta wait till I get some other issues set up and running first. Then I'll be all over this blogging thing again.