“Rise and shine, Get up, I need those blankets.” The lights suddenly came on and goons were screaming. It felt like I had just fell asleep and they were already rousting us to get up. I wonder what blanket they are talking about as I grab my overnight bag and head to the toilets.
I wait in line to pee and shave and follow the crowd to the same lobby area I entered just a few hours earlier. I get a cup of coffee and some Oatmeal served by volunteers. I stand with a back to a wall clutching the handle of my overnight bag. “Clear the lobby, everyone out of the building.” The Goons scream, I head outside, still so sleepy that I can’t think straight. ” What do I do now?” I wonder, I head back to my truck and fall asleep.
I wake up hours later, early afternoon. I head to the lobby to use the john. ” May I help you?” The security woman asked unkindly, looking at me with contempt. ” I need to use the john.” i answered. “We’re closed.” she dismisses me by turning back to whatever she was reading. “I really need to go!” I pleaded. “We’re closed.” she answered her eyes dead of all compassion. I head out to find a Restroom in a City I know nothing about.
The Manager of an Auto Parts store lets me use the Restroom, When I finish, I thank him profusely and head back to my truck and sleep the rest of the day.
I wake up late that afternoon and grab my bag and head back in to see about dinner.
It was Halloween night I had been awake for over twenty-four hours and I was hopelessly lost, when my pickup sputtered and ran out of gas right in the middle of a highway. I got out to try to push it to the shoulder and almost got run over, with a muttered curse, I got back in the truck and waited
“Thank you God!” I whispered when the flashing lights appeared behind me. The highway Patrolman walked up to the side of my truck as I rolled down my window. ” what are you doing sitting in the middle of the Highway?” he asked incredulously. “I ran out of gas and I’m totally lost.”Let’s get you to the shoulder.” I put the truck in neutral and guide the F-150 to the shoulder as the cop pushes. Safely out of the way of the speeding Halloween revelers the Cop again is at my window. “What are we going to do about this? “I don’t know,” I replied. “I’m out of money, been awake over twenty-four hours, I’m lost and just don’t know what to do. ” hold on, let me make some phone calls. With that, he walks back to his Patrol car.
I rolled down the window when I saw him walking toward my truck. ” how much money do you have?” I pulled out my wallet and give him the last three dollars to my name. ” he took the money from my hand and added a few dollars from his wallet as the Tow-truck pulled in front of my pickup.
I listened tiredly as they put a few dollars worth of gas in my tank. When he was finished, the Tow-truck Driver wished the cop a safe night and drove off. The cop hands me a map to the Salvation army and wishes me luck. I thank him profusely and with a fist-bump I drive off.
The other night, while we were waiting for our Bed Assignments, a Black man walks past a white Man, They both laugh, Shake hands, pat each other on the back, the white Man laughs and says,” Hey Ni–er, how have you been?” The Black Man answers him, they laugh and talk for several minutes, then the Black Man walks away. A few Minutes later, another Black Guy approaches the white Guy who said the N-word, Angrily confronts Him for saying that word. The White Guy manages to Diffuse the situation, there was a moment where I thought I was going to witness a Murder.
Most People know not to use that particular word, It can be confusing for some White Folks though. We here it all the time at the Shelter, Black Folks Calling each other the N-word. In my opinion, it is a Horrible, De-humanizing word that should not be used by anyone. Especially with what is going on now in Missouri and elsewhere.
I just wish we could learn to love and respect each other as Humans, and get over all the Hatred.
There are two Public restrooms at the Shelter. In Safe bay, where we sleep, There are more toilets and two shower stalls. Safety is closed until it is time to assign beds so we can go to bed. Somebody got hurt somehow in the public restroom last night. One of the Urinals and the Floor around it was covered in Blood. Security locked the Restroom, would not let anyone use the Toilets in Safe Bay.
Living at a Shelter is a lot like living in Jail, almost every aspect of your life is controlled by someone else. You are assigned a Bunk, you have a certain time that you are allowed to eat. I wouldn’t recommend this Life to anyone
At the Homeless Shelter, you have to wait, you wait in line to eat,and you wait in line to get a bed. If you are mentally Stable when you get here, if you stay here long enough, that Stability slowly slips away. I was waiting for a Bed with everyone else in the Chapel waiting area, this is an overflow area where you go when all the chairs in the waiting area are full. A guy comes thru the area, Woofing loudly like He’s a Damned Rottweiler or something. He Goes outside, I guess He barked at the wrong Person. The Guy got Stabbed. Cops and Local News Crews were here.
The Knee-jerk reaction of Security was to close off the over-flow area, crowding all of us into the waiting area. If the Fire Marshal saw how packed we were, He would have lost his mind. Fist-fights nearly broke out. Needless to say, After Standing in a Sardine Can for two hours, I was ready to sleep, Unfortunately, Sleeping right away in a Homeless Shelter is Bad Form. Everyone has to laugh, Scream and raise Hell. Most of us have been around each other for hours, but some people have to wait till Bed-time to Socialize and raise Hell. I finally get to sleep, only to wake up to answer the call of nature, I get back to sleep, when they turn on the lights and kick us all out at 5:30 in the Morning.Fun Times!
Halloween night, I became Homeless. After driving around lost, running out of Gas twice, I finally found where I needed to be. My Truck is almost out of gas, After sitting here, the Battery is dead. The Salvation Army is in Bell Ringing Season, They need the spot. I have until Friday to move a Truck I can’t move, to a Spot I don’t have. If the Truck was not so full of my stuff. I would call the Car Dealer, tell him to come get it. I just don’t know what to do with the Stuff.
After being in the Homeless shelter for a month, one thing has struck me and saddened me. There are so many Mentally ill People, People who clearly need Medication and Therapy. People not getting the help they need. Can’t Society do Better? Maybe if we sent less Aid to Arab Countries that hate us, we could help more of our own People that really need Help.