Places And Faces

Posted: May 16, 2007 in Acceptance, Employment, Goals, Homelessness, Hopes

I’ve been burning the candles at both ends (and in the center too) and so its no wonder that I’ve been feeling exhausted over this past week.

I used to wake up around 6 AM, but now I’m waking up between 4:30 AM and 5:00 AM. The bad part is that I’m also going to sleep later than I used to and now I’m starting to feel the effects. Most of it has to do with have additional things that I’m trying to accomplish.

I’m still going through the struggle to survive day by day, but with the addition of the extra activities there is just not enough time to do it without having to make some adjustments in my "schedule."  

Previously I only had to worry about charging my cell phone, but now that I have a laptop I have the tools to work again. Working again is great. I love it. But electronic devices require some sort of electric power – whether it’s battery or AC current. Although my laptop does have a battery and will run for a while under battery power, the battery needs to be recharged when it gets too low or else the laptop will shut itself down.

So my morning routine has grown a bit longer.

Now, I wake up, go grab a cup of hot chocolate or hot water for some herbal teas that I have, then during the week I catch the earliest bus possible and head to one of several places I know of where I can plug in. If it’s the weekend or a holiday, I have to walk to one of my "plug in" spots.

On mornings when it’s nippy outside it can be a bit uncomfortable sitting there with the laptop plugged in. Then on top of that I end up having to sit on cold concrete – and since I’ve lost a lot of weight since I’ve been homeless, I’ve also lost some padding on my hind quarters, which now are about the size to two bb’s. If I’m lucky and I can find a piece of cardboard, then I take it along with me to use as a type of insulator between my behind and the cold ground.

One of the places I plug in at – which is my favorite place – just happens to be the one that is farthest from where I have my tent set up.

On those days when the buses don’t run early I take the long one and a half mile trek there. I don’t really mind though. Walking is good exercise and I get the added benefit of my mind not having to really focus on anything (other than putting one foot in front of the other and not getting myself run over). Besides, it just one of those things I have to do at present if I want to get out of being homeless – so it’s the type of sacrifice worth making.

About an hour and a half after I arrive the city starts to come to life with the sounds of people going about their morning routines. Some are walking their dogs, others are taking morning strolls – some in pairs, and others are on their way to work.

Since I’ve been routinely going to that spot since last August, most of the "regulars" are familiar with my presence there. They see me most mornings. Undoubtedly they know that I’m homeless, but they’ve come to accept my being there. They’ve come to see that I’m not a troublemaker, or that I’m creating problems, or bothering anyone.

Now most of them will say "Hi" or "Good Morning" when they see me. And quite a few of them wished me a Merry Christmas over the holiday season. That was cool!

There is one young woman in particular who has always been cordial toward me since day one. I’ve only seen her there during the workweek, and because of the way she’s dressed, I imagine that she’s on her way to work.

Not once has she failed to say "Hello" or extend some other morning greeting. On days that the weather forecast says that rain is due, she goes out of her way to mention that rain is forecasted for that day (or the next couple of days) and that I should make sure to try and stay dry.

There is one gentleman who goes there with his dog. He and his dog have also gotten used to my being there. He has come up to me to say "Good Morning" and his dog comes up to me with his tail wagging full force.

As the morning progresses and it gets closer to the time where I need to go about the rest of my day, I pack up my belonging and pick up what little trash I may have created during the hour or two (or three) then off I go – to face the rest of the world.

I know that I’ll be back there tomorrow – or at the very least the day after.

I’ve run into some of the people I see at my "favorite place" at other places around town. When they see me, their eyes reflect recognition and they invariably say hello. Some seem to want to have a brief conversation, but I think that they’re just not sure what they can say to a homeless person.

That’s okay. Perhaps one day they’ll find the words.

Of all the places in town, that’s my favorite. Not because of the scenery – which is quite beautiful – but because of the people who I share that spot with. They’ve accepted me being there – that goes far above being just tolerated.

And when you’re homeless, being accepted by members of the mainstream community goes a long way in combating the feeling of being rejected and ostracized…

…And it lessens the feelings of loneliness.

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