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


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

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.

Success For 100,000 Homes Campaign

From Iain De Jong:
This is a short, supplemental blog to acknowledge the amazing achievement that the 100K Homes Campaign and the Campaign Communities reached today, announcing that the goal has been surpassed (101,628 of which over 30,000 were Veterans).
Go read the rest of his blog post at http://www.orgcode.com/2014/06/11/wow-that-is-a-big-number/

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Homeless Terms To Know - Section 8

The U.S. Government offers rental payment assistance to the poorest Americans through HUD in three ways

  • Privately owned subsidized housing - landlords receive assistance from HUD for offering low rent to low income tenants.
  • Public housing - housing units/apartments owned by the government offered to low income tenants
  • Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) - a voucher is given to a low income person to use for paying rent in the home of their choice.
In each case, the tenant pays a percentage of their income, with of minimum payment due of 50 dollars each month - even if the tenant has no income.

The demand for these programs is high and often the waiting lists for these programs are many years long. BUT for newly created programs that address homelessness, these waiting lists can be bypassed, allow the homeless to move into housing much sooner.

Back to Homeless Terms To Know

Please Support This Blog

How much would you pay for a book?  For a magazine subscription?  For Netflix or Audible.com?
 I have created enough content on this blog to fill 20 books, and it's all available free of charge.  And I certainly don't want to charge for it because I want this information to be available to every who wants it.   The thing is, life is expensive, even for homeless people.  If I want clean clothes I have to go to the laundry-mat and it costs me $4.50 per load.  When I need wifi I need to go to Starbucks or McDonalds, or some such place and buy something, so that I can sit inside and use their internet connection.   It's the same if all I need is to use the restroom.  Those are for 'customers only'.  I have a membership at the Y so that I can shower every day.  That costs 50 bucks a month.

When you donate to this blog, that's where the money goes.  It pays for my basic living expenses. And it pays for my internet access.  Without those things, this blog would not exist, plain and simple. And by no means am I getting rich off this donation button.  I average only two donations a month.

Please, if you find that this blog informs you, or entertains you, or provides value to your life in anyway,  please help it along with a donation.  No donation is too small or too big.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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The Sleep Thing

I know I've been talking a good deal about sleep, but that's because homelessness is really all about the sleep.  Homelessness isn't about what you do during the day, everyone has activities that fill their time.  But, when you strip life down to it's bare ingredients, the only thing that really separates homeless people from everyone else is that homeless people don't have a secure place to sleep.  Once a homeless person is able to find such a place, then the rest of life is theirs to do with as they please.

I think one of the reasons that people get angry with the homeless is that the homeless act as a mirror of sorts, reflecting back the reality of the self, of the onlookers.  The onlookers who have bought into the idea that certain standards of living are important and necessary - they may not actually believe what they've been told about life, but they have conformed anyway.  Then they see other people getting away with not conforming, and that makes them angry, makes them jealous, makes them realize that all the things they pursue are but a mirage, a hoax, a facade.  They feel trapped in the life they've built around themselves.  The homeless are existing without conforming, and they think it's unfair, so they take out their self loathing on the homeless.

I guess this is why, when people try to end homelessness, they focus on denying the homeless a restful night's sleep.  Still, sleep is a human necessity, as necessary as food and water, we cannot live without it.  To deny people the right to sleep is criminal, is inhumane.  Sleep is a right.

Speaking on a restful night's sleep, I just figured out something - the importance of a good pillow.  I had been using my back pack as my pillow.   For one, I need something under my head when I sleep, and two, keeping my head on my back pack is an added layer of security so that no one steals it.  The problem is my back pack feels like a lumpy rock.  It is very uncomfortable.  So, for the past couple nights I've been rolling up my sweater and using it as my pillow, and for this my head feels more comfortable when I sleep and so I sleep better, and I get more rest.  I used to wear my sweater as I slept, but with the sleeping bag, I don't really need to. My body in general is getting used to sleeping on the cement.  I don't have as many aches and pains when I wake up.   That's a good thing!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Homeless Monday Update

Ok, I've been cement surfing for a full week now.   And it's been rough.  In the UK they actually call it "sleeping rough".  They may be on to something there. It seems to be the most accurate terminology for the event.  In the U.S. when people do recreational camping, they often refer to it as
"roughing it".  Right now the closest terminology in the U.S. is "sleeping out".   The urban dictionary http://www.urbandictionary.com/ calls it "cement surfing" (because I put that definition in there).

My cold doesn't seem to be so bad this morning, thankfully.  Last night I did get some generic Sudafed to take.  I had a few left over from the last time I was sick, back when I was cement surfing before getting into the tent, but those didn't last very long.  I for that, I am now officially out of money until next month's check.  I may try my hand at panhandling.  Since people are going to be giving to panhandlers anyway, might as well get my share of it.  At least I'll put it towards things like food and  laundry.

Although things are a bit dire I'm still smiling.  Why am I happy? you might ask.  Well I'll tell you.  There are few things that give me as much satisfaction as the success of my blog.   It's the one thing that I can say I created by myself that actually became something good.  It's not so easy having a successful blog, especially these days.   Most people have their noses stuck in Facebook and they rarely venture away from it.   But why am I smiling today?  Well, the blog's readership numbers are again sky rocketing.  That, and I'm starting to get hate mail again.   I've learned over time that there are certain types of blog posts that get the most attention, and I've been writing more of those.   A month ago I was averaging only 800 page views a day, but this past week I've been averaging 1200 page views per day.  And, at the same time the amount of hate mail I get is increasing.

I no longer pay attention to the hate mail, it's all the same - has been the same drivel since the beginning of the blog.  And I'm more thick skinned. That kind of mail used to bother me, and for it I would change what I wrote.  Of course then my readership would drop.  Well, no more of that.  I'm going to continue writing in the same fashion, regardless.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

I Am Sick And Tired

The symptoms came on slowly for a couple days.  Now it's a full blown cold.  My nasal passages are stuffed.  I've been taking a generic sudafed.  But even my ears seem congested - I can hear the hollowness of my own head.

Every night there is a cold breeze blowing in from the ocean.  Even while in the sleeping bag, the top of my head is exposed to that cold breeze and it's really uncomfortable.

Then there's the issue of sleeping outside.  Even though it seems like I'm getting the same amount of sleep that I was in the tent, I always wake up feeling like I didn't get any sleep at all.  And the nods are on me.  Working on the laptop, I'm very susceptible to nodding off - bobble-head style.   I almost missed my trolley stop today cause I fell asleep while riding along.  I was riding the trolley to the Y so to get a shower.  The shower always wakes me up some and that's good.  But I've been sleeping on the sidewalk for a week now and it's sapping my strength.   This really isn't a surprise, it happens to almost everyone when they are homeless, it even happens to me when I'm in certain shelters.   The productivity of my sleep is near zero.  Not only am I sleepy, but I don't have much strength either.

Sometimes you'll see homeless people laying about in the middle of the day. You might be inclined to call them lazy, but really, being homeless is punishing, even brutal, sometimes.  More than likely, those people are just suffering from sleep deprivation.  There is no need to hate on them. It really isn't enough to sleep on the streets if you are uncomfortable, or are worried and stressed.  No one can completely relax while on the streets, especially when trying to sleep.  I'm sure that makes the sleep less than productive.  One's body doesn't get a chance to regenerate from the toils of the previous day.

Being tired isn't going to help me overcome my cold any.   I will be going to my sleeping spot a couple hours earlier tonight, hopefully that will help some.  Being that it's Sunday night it should will be quiet around the place.   Last night it was pretty obvious when all the clubs closed down for the night.   The revelers all left the downtown area at the same time, being loud and obnoxious along the way. Many of them walk down the street where the homeless sleep.

Oh, and speaking of obnoxious.    I've noticed that the trolley drivers like to blow their horns as they travel through the area where the homeless sleep - even when there really is no cause to be blowing their horns.   As if the trolleys themselves aren't big noise generators.   The tracks rattle and the ground rumbles as they pass.   The horn is just adding insult to injury.

Economic Slavery

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Homeless Behavior An Observation

George Orwell, the guy who wrote, "1984" and "Animal Farm" also wrote a book called, "Down and Out in Paris and London".   I am always leery of books that claim to describe poverty and homelessness, regardless of the author.  Most people, even when looking directly at poverty, still don't have a clue of what is poverty and homelessness.  Yet, at the very beginning of "Down and Out...",  Orwell had me convinced that he knew what he was talking about.   The book opens with the following passage:
THE rue du Coq d'Or, Paris, seven in the morning. A succession of furious, choking yells from the street. Madame Monce, who kept the little hotel opposite mine, had come out on to the pavement to address a lodger on the third floor. Her bare feet were stuck into sabots and her grey hair was streaming down. 
MADAME MONCE: '_Salope! Salope!_ How many times have I told you not to squash bugs on the wallpaper? Do you think you've bought the hotel, eh? Why can't you throw them out of the window like everyone else? _Putain! Salope!_' 
Thereupon a whole variegated chorus of yells, as windows were flung open on every side and half the street joined in the quarrel. They shut up abruptly ten minutes later, when a squadron of cavalry rode past and people stopped shouting to look at them. I sketch this scene, just to convey something of the spirit of the rue du Coq d'Or. Not that quarrels were the only thing that happened there-- but still, we seldom got through the morning without at least one outburst of this description. Quarrels, and the desolate cries of street hawkers, and the shouts of children chasing orange-peel over the cobbles, and at night loud singing and the sour reek of the refuse-carts, made up the atmosphere of the street. It was a very narrow street--a ravine of tall, leprous houses, lurching towards one another in queer attitudes, as though they had all been frozen in the act of collapse. All the houses were hotels and packed to the tiles with lodgers, mostly Poles, Arabs and Italians. At the foot of the hotels were tiny _bistros_, where you could be drunk for the equivalent of a shilling. On Saturday nights about a third of the male population of the quarter was drunk. There was fighting over women, and the Arab navvies who lived in the cheapest hotels used to conduct mysterious feuds, and fight them out with chairs and occasionally revolvers. At night the policemen would only come through the street two together. It was a fairly rackety place. And yet amid the noise and dirt lived the usual respectable French shopkeepers, bakers and laundresses and the like, keeping themselves to themselves and quietly piling up small fortunes. It was quite a representative Paris slum.
Although today's poverty and homelessness has points that make it unique from other time periods, the nature of the people who live in such circumstances seems to stay relatively the same.   I'm talking about the noise, the cacophony of sounds generated by the poor and unfortunate people.  It is a peculiar thing, indeed!

When in a situation that demands a quiet and composed demeanor, the homeless are able to rein themselves in, and behave accordingly, but as soon as they are free to do as they please, they are more than likely to stir up a tempest of sound, mostly verbally.  It is as if being noisy is their natural state.  It could be because so many of the poor and homeless also suffer from mental health issues.  It could also be because poverty and homelessness is very stressful and many people deal with stress by venting their feelings verbally.  It's more than likely a combination of the two.

Still, not all poor and homeless people are loud.   But the quiet ones still must suffer the burden of being in this environment of noise.  For them, the noise adds to the confusion of life.

Last night was Friday night, but on the streets you wouldn't need a calendar to tell you what day it was.  There was a significant change in the people in my "neighborhood" - the increase in the noise, over the rest of the week, was obvious.  Being that today is Saturday, another weekend day, I expect tonight to be much the same as last night.  At least the mornings have been quiet so far.

Friday, June 6, 2014

When I Lay Me Down To Sleep

I don't want to give away my exact location, but this is my current sleeping situation.

Click on the picture to see it enlarged

Homeless Sleep Routine

I was able to get a few hours sleep last night.  Still, I need to find a way to get more rest - I must find a place where I can nap a little during the day.  Last night I returned to the same place I've been sleeping since I started this.  My exact spot from the previous night was taken by someone else, but just a few feet away was a good place to bed down.

As per usual, there was some foot traffic through the night, and some noise - people arguing and some construction on the trolley tracks - but it was far enough away to be a little consequence.  I'm able to fall asleep faster with each night.  I place my backpack up against a wall and position it so to use as a pillow.  Then I unroll my sleeping bag in alignment with the backpack. I unzip the bag about half way and slide in with my shoes on. Once in the sleeping bag I take off my shoes.  This assures that no one will walk off with my shoes while I sleep - since they are at the bottom of my sleeping bag.  I zip up the bag all the way.  I then rearrange all the items in my pockets so that I am not sleeping on them - wallet, coins, ear buds, etc  I lay on my side and begin to relax. Still there is pain in my hip where it makes contact with the concrete ground.  I lean either a little forward or a little back to alleviate it.  Sure it is more comfortable to lay on my back, but I feel less safe that way.  I then put my hat on top of my face to block the street lights from my eyes.

I am completely broke until next month's check arrives, so additional items to help me sleep will have to wait. Before I start collecting more possessions, I need to get a cart of some kind in which to lug them around.  I will also need a way to pull that cart around.  My ultimate plan is to have a bicycle with a cart attached to the back of it.  The cart must be such that I can secure the items in it with a lock.  Otherwise people will surely steal its contents.  But all this will have to wait until July. Ah but then I'll be able to travel around the city, perhaps to the park, set up the tent and grab some shut eye in the middle of the day, when it's needed.

With no money, it's going to be a long 24 days. I have gotten used to eating at fast food restaurants with the money I get from disability.  I won't be able to do that soon.  I think I have a about 30 bucks to last the rest of the month.  This will force me to seek out homeless feedings.  I need to learn about those anyway.  The experience will give me something to write about.  Still, if you'd like to help alleviate some of this burden,  please feel free to click on my donation button and send a little money. I would certainly appreciate it.

the nods are coming back.  I need to go for a walk.                                                

Homeless Terms To Know - Chronic Homelessness

About a dozen years ago HUD made the bold move of defining a particular type of homelessness.  Prior to this new definition, the government made no distinction between types of homeless people.  Still HUD has only been dealing with homelessness since 1987 through the Stewart B McKinney Act.

HUD created the governments first responses to Chronic Homelessness in 2003. From the HUD website
HUD adopted the Federal definition which defines a chronically homeless person as “either (1) an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has been continuously homeless for a year or more, OR (2) an unaccompanied individual with a disabling condition who has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.” This definition is adopted by HUD from a federal standard that was arrived upon through collective decision making by a team of federal agencies including HUD, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
With that came the governments first definition of Chronically Homeless people. After considerable input from the homelessness industry, HUD redefined the term so to make it more accurate. The following was added to the definition
A family with an adult member who meets this description would also be considered chronically homeless.
I am sure that the government will continue to revise it's definition as it gains knowledge of the subject.

Back to Homeless Terms To Know

Thursday, June 5, 2014

About Me

At this time of year the readership of my blog usually drops, but for some reason I'm not sure of, there are more readers here, not fewer.

And I'm not sure if y'all are familiar with me and blog so I guess I should do a short (and always incomplete) "About Me" post.

  • I was born in 1961 in San Diego California
  • I became homeless the first time in 1982
  • I have lived in Nashville since 1982
  • I returned to San Diego in 2013
  • I have Asperger's Syndrome
  • I also suffering from major depression and anxiety
  • I receive a disability check for my mental health issues
  • I am not a good writer, I just have more time than most to fix my bad writing
  • I have lived about 15 years on the streets
  • I have lived just about as long in a variety of shelters and halfway houses.
  • I served in the U.S. Navy for 2 years
  • I attended college for a year and a half
  • I was a photographer of sorts, before the digital age
  • I won a few local awards for my photography, and put on a handful of gallery shows. One of my photographs graced the cover of "Shots" a photographic arts magazine
  • I was married for about 6 years.
  • I have two grown children
  • I have been blogging about homelessness since Aug of 2002
  • I flunked typing twice in high school, now I spend every day on a keyboard
  • I got bad grades in English through out my public school years - now I'm known for being a writer - (if you are struggling in school don't worry, in time you'll be able to over come it)
  • I write about homelessness, sharing my personal experiences with being homeless, because very few people understand it.   People's ignorance about homelessness makes it harder for homeless people to escape from it.
  • I lack the ability to do the things necessary to get myself out of homelessness. If I had those skills, I would have never become homeless in the first place and I wouldn't be writing this.
  • Just because I can't get myself out of homelessness does not mean I can't do anything right.
  • There is more to homeless people than being homeless.
  • I have no plans to leave San Diego.
  • If a reasonable opportunity to get off the streets presents itself, I'll take it.

What I Learned From Fox News And Negative People

I know something about negative people.  I was raised by them.  To be honest, in my 53 years as a human I have never met anyone as negative at my own parents.  Nearly everything they said about the world was negative, nearly everything they said about me and to me was negative.


  • Negativity is addictive.
  • People addicted to negativity don't realize that they are being negative.
  • Negativity is related to depression.
  • Negativity is used to control people.
  • Negativity is a trait of judgmental people.
  • Fox News is popular because it feeds the addiction of negativity.
  • I am a recovering negative person.
Given that I also suffer from Asperger's Syndrome, the damage done by my parent's negativity cannot be overlooked.  Not only did I have difficulty as a kid understanding the world around me because of Aspergers, my parent's influence made me deathly afraid of the world and most everything in it.  This pushed me into deep isolation which only made things more difficult.

A person does not learn without outside influences.  Over the years, though, I have met enough non-negative people to understand my parents for who they are.   For the longest time I held the common child's impression that my parents were god like.  And this perception lasted longer than it should have because I had no other influences in my life to counter it.   For my mother, this fit her particular aims of control.  When I was two or three years old, my mother miscarried.  This event had a tremendous emotional impact on her, and she became overly protective and possessive, her youngest child - me.  She would have no other children after.

Another interesting aspect of my parents was that, as much as they found fault in everything, no one was ever allowed to mention any thing negative about them.  My parents might have admitted to not being perfect, but they would never actually admit to any particular failing.  They would deny having a fault, then would become angry towards whoever brought up the issue.  Not only did they do this with me, I witnessed them do this with others, not just with other children, but with adults as well.  Despite whatever I did, my parents would think of the most negative aspect of it and focus all their time and energy on it.   As you might imagine, this cause me to grow up depressed.

This depressed kid eventually became a depressed adult.  When therapists asked me if i was depressed, I did not understand the question, and did not know how to respond.  This was because I had been depressed my entire life, and had no other emotion to compare it with.  I had never known what it was like to not be depressed.  Depression was my normal state of being.  There were rare moments when I wasn't feeling depressed, but it was such an odd state of being that it scared me, and thought it wrong somehow.

There are a lot of negative people in the world.  That's what fox news has taught me. People who are negative towards things actually feed off of negativity.  Hearing and seeing other negative things feeds their own negativity.   A negative person who is surrounded by daisies and puppy dogs (or anything positive) cannot maintain their negativity.  Instead they consume negativity like it's an addiction.   And that is why fox news is so popular.  It churns out negativity at levels never before seen in the media. Sure, fox news is a Republican propaganda machine, but fox news doesn't focus much attention on the positive aspects of Republicans.  Instead it turns everything else into something negative. It works on the assumption that if negative labels are placed on Democrats, and liberals in general, people will fill in the blanks with positive labels on Republicans and conservatives, whether or not they are any positive aspects about them.

Some people might say that I'm politically biased.  But I ask you to think about this.  To be liberal is to be charitable, open and giving, compassionate and forgiving.   A person cannot be these things and at the same time be a negative person.  Having negative thoughts and being a loving caring person does not equate.  It's a non sequitur.  It is illogical.

Being that there are so many negative people in the world, certainty some will discover my blog.   They may even leave comments, spewing their negativity, and attempting to justify it.  They'll take everything I talk about and twist it around to something negative - either about things I've done, or worse, about me personally.   There was a time when I thought that the best way to deal with this negativity was to fight it head on.   I used to allow their negative comments and then I would respond, delineating exactly where and why they were wrong.   The problem with this approach, I've since learned, is that regardless of what I say, negative people will always be drawn to negative things and will not hear what I have to say.  Even when I prove beyond a doubt that someone was wrong about me or whatever I did, the negative people won't pay attention to it, they'll just continue to suck at the teat of truculence.

So, I have decided that I will no longer respond to these negative people.  I will no longer broadcast their comments, even if I could easily counter their statements with the truth.  Instead I'll continue doing what I do.   That some people are still irritated by the mere existence of my blog, I take that to mean I'm doing something right.

Even More Sleep Last Night

The problem I had yesterday, even though I did get some sleep, was that it wasn't enough sleep. All day I had the nods. Wherever I went, McDonalds, Starbucks, riding the Trolley, etc., I couldn't stay awake.   And that's a dangerous thing. Being told my a security guard or manager that "you can't sleep here" can easily lead to "you can't come back here."

But, last night I got even more sleep. Sure, as per usual, I did wake up a couple times during the night, but I laid down to sleep at around 11pm and woke up this morning at a quarter after 6am.

That's actually a little too late.  It is best to be up and away before workers at nearby businesses begin showing up.  There's a guy who is janitor of the building I sleep up against, and he came out of the building as I was packing up. He started griping because someone had defecated near by.  The thing is, I saw who did it.  It was someone else who was just walking by.  It wasn't any of us who slept in the area.  Still he was blaming us for it. The city has two public restrooms that are open 24 hours, but San Diego has a huge downtown area and two just isn't enough.

As with most homeless people, I would never defecate in public, a human body can retain shit for a long time, long enough to find a restroom somewhere. So there's no need to just squat wherever. The guy who took the dumb was drunk. Drunks do stupid shit all the time.

As for having to pee at night, that's a different story. I keep an empty, medium sized, orange juice bottle with me, preferably one with a wide opening so that I don't miss.  I can pee into the bottle while still in my sleeping bag, and no one's the wiser.  With the screw top lid, there's no fear of spillage.  Sometimes, though the bottle will need to be emptied, then I have to get up and deposit its contents on a nearby plant.   Anyone walking by would just think I was giving the plant some vitamin C.

The weather looks good for the foreseeable future. Life goes on.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Exactly What I Need To Get Off The Streets For Good.

OK, now I'm going to explain what it is I need so to get out of homelessness.  It's very basic, everyone with a 4th grade education or higher will be able to follow along.

I need these things because I do not have the capacity to do these things for myself.  Now, some people might pass judgment on me negatively for these short comings. But this isn't about me, it's about what it will take to get me off the streets.  What you may think I "deserve" is beside the point.

I am in need, first off, of a person willing to take up my case.  Yes, a case manager.  But even more than a case manager.   Nearly all case managers are desk jockeys, they work in their offices and expect their clients to come in to talk, and then leave with instructions to follow.  I am unable to do that.  What the case manager thinks I should do, I need the case manager to do it for me.  Instead of me going around town filling out applications for apartments, I need a case manager to find an apartment where I will be accepted, given my certain issues.   The case manager would work as my advocate, discussing my issues with the apartment management and convince them to take me on, regardless of any deficiencies I have.   This apartment will also have to be within a price range that I can afford.

Then my case manager will have to help me make arrangements to pay my rent each and every month - being certain that this money does not reach my hands. (I get a disability check each month.) I understand budgets, I am just unable to maintain them.  I am known for being capricious.  I get easily distracted and can end up on a bad path, one where I end up without enough money to pay rent.  What little money I have left after rent is paid I'll just use for food and other necessities as they develop.

That's all I need really, someone to hook me up with some place I can afford, and to make arrangements for that place to be paid for - the more I am not a part of that process the better.

It's easy enough, don't ya think?  Who wants to end my homelessness?

Homeless Terms To Know - Frequent User

A "frequent user" is a homeless person who makes excessive use of community services.  His addictions and/or mental health issues are so extreme that he spends an inordinate amount of time in jail, and the cops are often called to deal with him, and he makes several trips to the hospital and its emergency room.

At first, HUD labeled these people "chronically homeless" but that label was inadequate.  There are many chronically homeless people who are not frequent users and some frequent users are not actually chronically homeless.

Learning about homelessness and it's many forms and variants requires some time. But the government is now taking the time to learn these things.   They will make mistakes, certainly, but with each new discovery they will learn more, and their knowledge of homelessness will become more accurate and thus more productive.

At first, HUD was focused on eliminating Chronic Homelessness.  And you'll still hear that term kicked around a lot.  But what they are really doing is attempting to determine who the frequent users are, then they'll work to get them off the streets, so to save communities a significant amount of money.

What will happen to all the other chronically homeless people once the frequent users are off the street?  Will the government still be motivated to get the remaining chronically homeless off the streets?  Or will those people be abandoned once again, because they don't really cost communities much money?

Back to Homeless Terms To Know

Morning Update: SLEEP!

I remember the days when I could go 3 days without sleep and thought it was fun.  Now I go one day without sleep and I hurt.  Sure, getting older has its benefits, but wear and tear on the body takes its toll.  It seems more and more evident that I will not be living forever - dammit!

As you may have know from previous posts, I did not get any sleep night before last.  Well, yesterday evening I went to Walmart and bought a cheap sleeping bag (and a new hat) and that made all the difference.  Also, I found a different place to sleep, about 30 feet north of my usual spot - was less breeze there.   I don't do well in the cold, and if I'm too cold, then I cannot sleep.  Being wrapped up in the sleeping bag, and that bag giving me a little protection from the cold concrete as well, the only issue was the hardness of my "bed".  I adjusted the position of my body and the concrete didn't hurt nearly as much. I was able to fall asleep.

I spent the evening at Tom n Toms - a new cafe in San Diego (Korea's version of Starbucks).   After they closed, at 11pm, I walked down to my preferred area for sleeping.  I bedded down and worked to get comfortable. I fell asleep about midnight.   I did wake up a couple times during the night but fell right back to sleep.   It was remarkably quiet last night - there were no shenanigans by my fellow travelers that I was aware of.   I awoke at 5am, the very first hints of light were turning the sky above a dark blue - my favorite color.  The air was cool, but not cold.

I rolled up my sleeping bag, gathered my things, and headed to Starbucks for a well deserved urination.
This is going to be a difficult month for me financially - if you ever thought about sending a donation my way, now would be the time to do it.  Follow the link above.  Thank you.  Have a good rest of the day.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sure It's Easy They Said

OK, eventually I'll be posting videos here of my journey, but not until I figure out how to use iMovie.  For being simple, it sure is difficult.  I got this book from the library, it's helpful.

What Really Happened

If you recall my last post, or better yet, read that one first, I had planned out last night's sleep on the street.  But, something else happened.  I caught the trolley about midnight and rode it down to where I was to sleep.  It is in an area where many homeless sleep on the sidewalks.  As crazy as some homeless people are, there is still safety in numbers - even if those numbers are all homeless people.

I found where I wanted t sleep was vacant and the nearest other sleep was about 15 feet away, which is a good thing.  I don't want my usually loud snoring to piss anyone off.  I don't need enemies on the streets. I locked my backpack to the chain link fence and laid down, using the backpack as a pillow.   I immediately noticed a chill in the air. And through the night the air grew colder. There was a slight breeze, but it was constant, preventing me from conserving any body heat.  And it didn't take long for the concrete is begin hurting my bones, from the cold and the hardness.

The chain link fence runs along the border of an empty lot, and up against this fence slept dozens of homeless people.   Some had tents, others had sleeping bags.  Others had cardboard to sleep on.  I think I was the only idiot to be lying directly on the concrete. Although there was commotion through out the night, it was mostly quiet. Pairs of people walked from one camp set up to another.  Occasionally I could hear the anger and heated words between a man and woman, but it came from the other side of the empty lot.  A random holler would break through the cold air.  Since I could not sleep, I just watched and listened to the street sounds.

Then I noticed ants, not many of them, but they were on most everything.  They weren't a bother and sort of tickled my skin as they crawled along.  I empathized, thinking they were looking for a place out of the cold too.  A field mouse scurried by, then jumped into a small hole when it noticed that I noticed it.

Then about 1:30am the rattle of a jackhammer started up.  About a block away a construction crew started working on repairs to the trolley track.  Yeah, it had to be 1:30 because that's when the last of the trolleys pass by.  At 2am it was obvious that I wasn't going to get any sleep.  So, I sat up and started reading a book.  Not long after, the urge to urinate came over me.  Not sure where I could go, I just kept reading, remembering that Starbucks would open at 4:30am.  At about 2:30am a couple guys walk by, angry with each other, their banter was a continuous "calling out", threatening each other to fight.  Idle threats, they didn't even get loud. They kept on their way.

At 3am I unlocked my backpack from the fence, threw it on my back and started looking for a place to urinate.  Things were different from when I was outside last time.  I couldn't go where I used to.   Then I remembered a public restroom near the entrance to the Gaslamp District.  It was a few blocks away.  I headed in that direction.

Around the next block I saw that the new 7/11 was open.  I did not know it was a 24hr store.   I went in, but was told that their restrooms were not available until 6am - even if I bought something.  I bought an banana anyway and keep going.  4 blocks West and 3 blocks south and I was at the pubic restroom.  And, thankfully, it was open.  Still I had to wait my turn as there were other homeless people ahead of me.  With the pressure off my bladder, I no longer had a goal for the rest of the night.

This pubic restroom was next to a trolley station and so I checked the schedule.   In just a half hour (4am) the trolleys would start up again, so I thought I'd go for a ride.   I have a monthly public transportation pass.   The thought crossed my mind that maybe I could get some sleep on the trolley, but that didn't work out.

It was as if the trolley was a special service for all the crazy homeless people in the city at that time of the morning - the first trolley out of the gate.  All those people who couldn't sleep had caught a ride.  And they all tried to talk to me.   I'm half asleep, trying to mind my own business and read my book, and they're jabbering at me about something illogical and incoherant.  I think I'll pass on taking the first trolley of the day, next time.

Not having a plan, I decided to get off the trolley at the San Diego State University terminal.  It it located on the campus.  But the campus seemed like it was still asleep - school must be over.  I saw a sign for Jack-in-the-Box and walked that way, hoping instead to find a McDonalds near by.  No such luck.  I then walked back to the campus and waited for the tolled headed back into town.  That was about a 45 minute wait.   I used the time to finish watching "The Misfits" with Clark Gabble and Marilyn Monroe.  It was the last film for the both of them, Gabble died just a few months after the filming completed, Marilyn died a couple years later.

Once in town I went to a cafe for something to eat and wifi.  At noon I went to the Y to shower, then after that to this McDonalds.  It's now 4pm.  I'll have to head out to Walmart soon to get a new sleeping bag.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Where The Ragged People Go

Funny, since I left the tent shelter I have stayed three nights in a row in a cheap hotel.  Talk about procrastination.  Well, I have very little money for this month and so I won't be able to chicken out tonight.  Once I leave this McDonalds I will be heading down to where the ragged people go, for a piece of concrete to sleep on.

Today was another day, also, of spending my day in McDonalds and in cafe's for the wifi and the occasional sandwich.

Starbucks opens at 4:30 in the morning so I'll have that to start the day tomorrow.  I'm sure I won't get much sleep, if any.  Then I'll head on to the Y for a shower to complete the wake up process.  Afterwards I'll need to get a sleeping bag and something to use as a pillow.   I hate having to carry around such stuff, but I think it will be necessary for me, if I am to get any sleep on the streets.  Yep, it's time for making trade-offs - giving up things I like for things I need.  I just hope that whatever I get compacts nicely so that that stuff I'm hauling around doesn't look excessive.   I hate to look like I'm homeless.  I'm still not accepting it as my fate.

You know how it is when you move into a new apartment, but you're not really happy with it, would rather be else where, and so you never unpack your stuff.  That's because you know that unpacking means that you are giving in, accepting the place as yours, and you just don't want to do that. When you do, it's reluctantly. I know what I need, so  to be homeless, but I'm still putting it off.  Maybe I'll win the lottery this week.  Maybe someone will take me in cause they've got a spare room, or a big back yard where they'd let me pitch a tent, or even just a patio where I could bed down during the night.  ... if only.

Homeless Survival Tip: Your Forever Burdens

As I am thinking about my impending return to the streets, (tonight), I think about all the things I need to survive.   And then it dawns on me.   I don't need anything to become homeless.   I will become homeless whether or not I have anything.  And that is important to understand.

Many people will start to freak out when becoming homeless because they have no idea what to do, no idea of what to expect, no idea of how to prepare. Well, to help put the potential homeless person a little at ease, let me assure you that the less you prepare for homelessness the better off you will be.

To be "successful" at homelessness is to be an extreme minimalist. This is because everything you own when homeless becomes your "forever burden."  You will always have to carry your lug your stuff around with you, wherever you go, and the more you have to carry, the more difficult your days become.  For instance, you may want to use the internet at your local library for a job search.  Well, most libraries will not let people in who carry more than a medium sized backpack. Stores are becoming the same way, restaurants too.  So, if you need to go in anyway, you'll be forced to leave your stuff outside while you go in, making your stuff very susceptible to theft.   Or you may try to leave your thinks in the care of another person.  Well, it's a sad thing to say, but most homeless people are not dependable for such responsibility.  They may walk off with your stuff, not to steal it but just so they can go do something they were planning on.  Then you come back outside and your stuff and your friend are gone.  Then you have to spend time trying to track down your stuff.  A lot of street friendships are ruined this way.

When going homeless the first things people think of getting are usually larger items, like tents and sleeping bags.  Are you really prepared to drag that stuff around with you all day, every day?

IF you are able to secure a place for storage, then good on ya.  Just know that you will now be responsible for maintaining the rent payments on your storage facility.   Miss a payment or two and you can kiss your stuff goodbye.

I actually have a small locker at the YMCA so I can at least keep my more valuable things safe, along with several changes of clothing.

As you experience your own unique homelessness, you begin to discover what things you really cannot live without, then get those things, and get them in the smallest, lightest, least expensive versions you can.    Good Luck!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

One Million Page Views Since 2007

Since Google bought Blogger from Pyra and made changes to the blogging service, they have been keeping track of blog page views.   Sometime in the early morning, my blog will roll over to 1 Million page views.  That's an overall average of 391 page views a day.   That's not much really, considering that for the past year I've been averaging 1000 page views a day.   Still in the grand scheme of things, my blog is almost non existent.  My share of internet traffic on the subject of homelessness is nearly nothing.   When I first started blogging,  the blog was doing much better.  Sadly the stress of operating this blog became too much and I cracked under the pressure, bringing the blog down with me.   For a while, I wanted nothing more than for the blog to disappear.  Thankfully some fore minded people prevented me from killing the blog all together.   And I'm glad they did.   I do wish this blog could regain it's popularity, but I think as far as the internet is concerned, you only get one shot at it.   Then the crowd moves on.   If this blog was as popular today, as it was when it first started, I would be able to live off the income it generated.   When I first started blogging, there wasn't a way to generate an income.  At least that part has changed.

Back To The Streets

It is 11:31pm, and I’m sitting alone in a booth at Hooters.  They will be open until 1am, and that’s good.   It’s a place to be until I have to leave and find another place to be.   I spent all of today moving from McDonalds to cafés and back.  It killed the day, being online.

Have you seen the movie about the end of the world, where the man sees a giant tidal wave coming towards him?   (Actually it’s now a disaster movie cliché.) There is nothing for the man to do, nowhere to go, no place to hide, so he just stands there and waits for the inevitable?

Then there’s the movie “The Life Aquatic” when Bill Murray is in a helicopter flying over the ocean with his adult son whom he had met recently, for the first time.   Well, the helicopter breaks.  Bill looks at the ocean below as it rushes up to meet him, and he says, “this is gonna hurt.”

Yeah, I often use movies as metaphors to describe things.   Movies are things many people have in common.  Well, at least among those who watch movies.   If you have seen a movie I reference, you know better what I’m trying to say.

Well, those two movies scenes describe my current state.  I see impending doom, but there's nothing I can do about it.  I just wait for it to happen.  I’ve been down this road too often to not know what is happening.  And it's gonna hurt.

I understand that for others my situation is frustrating.  They are perplexed by my actions and attitude.   They wonder why I’m not acting like they would, if they were in my situation.  Well, I’m just me. I can’t be them.  Being them doesn’t work for me.  I fail at that even more than I fail just being myself.

It is now 12:03 and I had a late dinner here.   I shouldn’t have eaten.  I wasn’t hungry and I shouldn’t have spent the money.   I should have traveled in the other direction and pulled up a slab of cement for the night.    I could fall asleep right this minute if I let myself.

It’s going to take some time and practice to acclimate myself to street life.   I need to take it slower.   I think tomorrow after this night of sleeping out, I’ll find a cheap motel room (one with it’s own bathroom, this time) so to catch up on sleep one more day before hitting the streets again.   Oddly enough, for the past couple months I had been getting very little sleep in the shelter tent, so I'm on the streets already suffering from sleep deprivation.

It’s so stupid how they run the shelters here in San Diego.  If they let you in, they won’t let you take a break from it, not even for just one night.   Do they not understand that their shelters, though a refuge from the streets, are also a source of stress?

From September 16 2013 until May 29th 2014 I spent every single night in that shelter tent.   That’s a about 260 days on the same routine every single day.  Making sure that regardless of what I was doing, I had to return to the shelter before 8pm, and had to stay in the shelter’s limited area until the next day.   The soonest they would let people back out was 4:30 am.   If I failed to meet that 8pm dead line I would lose my bed and they would put me back on the street.   It’s not like the shelter was much more comfortable than the street, the floor of the shelter is asphalt, being that the shelter is only a large single tent set up in a parking lot.

Oh well, I’m sure somewhere in this city there’s a place, some out of the way nook I can hole up in, be relatively safe, and can get some sleep.   I’ll just have to take the time to find it – and hope no else is already there.

In the mean time I’m marveling at the sights of the city as I walk through it.  I hadn’t seen outside of the tent property in the evening since I first arrived in here in San Diego. It truly is a beautiful city - the sun setting, lights coming on, and a cool gentle breeze rolling in over the bay.

In the Gaslamp District the streets run thick with young people – college kids mostly, dressed to the nines, as they used to say.  They are more earnest in trying to impress each other here, than say at work or church.  Most of these kids are attending one university or another, and so the slacks and dress shirts are for show.  They didn’t actually just get off work at some prestigious law firm or financial institution.  But hey, these girls don’t know that.   And speaking of these girls, also trying to impress, wearing the tightest and shortest of apparel.  Put them side by side with high class prostitutes and you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart, until one of them becomes offended at the remark.

Club after club down each street, each venue looks the same to the casual observer.  A low heavy beat pulsates through the walls to the outside. Some clubs have had the windows removed, but still it is dark inside and it’s difficult to see it.  The crowds are thick.  Squeals and laughter and loud talk – drinking glasses clinking and occasional cheers. The streets are packed. Car engines rev for no reason.  Bikes with three seater trailers attached are peddling revelers from here to there - a fun ride while trying to remember where the car is parked.

Closing time comes to the Hooters restaurant.   I ate too much.   To make sure the waitress didn’t get too upset with me hogging up a whole booth to myself for two hours, I ordered desert as well - 6 bucks for a small slice of not so good tasting key lime pie.   I shouldn’t have done that.

Like the man on the verge of drowning, the panic is setting in.  The process of returning to the streets is never easy, even though I know what to do and how to do it. 

The main reason I went to the Hooters restaurant is because they have wifi.  Well it wasn’t working so I just wrote instead.  When the restaurant closed I packed up the laptop, paid for the diner and walked back outside.   I continued walking in the same direction I was heading in when I arrived at the restaurant.  Slowly the crowd of people thinned out. I was heading farther away from the Gaslamp District.  Then it dawned on me that I was heading in the direction of the SRO hotel I stayed in the night before.   I was exhausted and knew that I needed to sleep soon. Sleep deprivation hurts.  In a few minutes I was justifying spending the money to get another motel room for the night.  But it was near 1:30 am.   Would they have any rooms available?  The Rock and Roll Marathon was in the morning.  Surely the place would be full.   I told myself it would be worth it just to check and see.

I got to the front desk and the attendant said that his computer was in the middle of the nightly audit and that he wouldn’t know what was available for another 45 minutes. It's ok if I wait? He said "ok" and so I sat in the lobby and brought out my laptop.  Nothing says, “He must be an ok guy” like brandishing a laptop.   An hour passed and the audit was done.

Then to my surprise and great relief a room was available.  To top that off, the attendant said that, because it was now so late and I was so kind to wait, that he set it up so that I wouldn’t have to check out until the following day, being that I wouldn’t be getting a full nights sleep that night.  And he wasn’t wrong.

At some ungodly hour, perhaps 6am, a drummer started wailing away on his amplified drum set.  Low and behold, the Rock and Roll Marathon course included running right past my hotel.  And this drummer was set up as one of the many entertainments for the run.  I didn't checked the time but it seemed like about a two hour long drum solo – all as I drifted in and out of sleep.  I would have been pissed if that were to be the total of my rest, and stay, in the SRO.

About noon I decided to get up, head out, and got something to eat.  I had breakfast at Grand Central cafe.   It is a café on the corner of the YMCA building where I stayed.  This café had been in business since the Y first opened in 1924.

I remember my mother's saying, “it was busier than Grand Central”.   As a kid I thought she was talking about Grand Central Station in New York City.   But I knew she’s never been to New York, and then seeing the name of this place, it all made sense.  

She was talking about this café.   If I have not mentioned it before, this building is where my parents met in 1956.  The Y used to hold Saturday night dances – they met on the dance floor.  My mother taught dance classes,  My father was working part time in a dance troop.  My father’s 3-person troop did floor shows at restaurants, dancing around tables as people ate.  That was a thing, back in the 50s.  My father looked like Gene Kelly, my mother favored Shelley Winters – both before and after the weight gain.

Oh, and I don’t know how this happened, but somehow during the night, in my 8 x 10 foot SRO, I lost one of my socks.