Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day - 69 Homelessrob And Dear, Dave!

Yesterday I was messaging a woman about a response she made to a post I did. I had said something in regards to how I felt it best to sort of stick it out and go solo while homeless. The woman didn't disagree with me, she just wondered if there was any "power in numbers".

My response to her was simple: Yes, there is power in numbers! However, this is not a common case with homeless people. I told her a quick story about a kid that I ran into a few weeks ago. He was on day 3. The night before while scared (I guess) and not knowing what to do, he decided the best thing to do was to teem up with some other homeless people for the night. When he woke up he had been robbed, rendering him in a very bad spot. On top of the money and phone they stole, they also got his I.D. Very bad news for him.

I recommend to stay as far away from other homeless people while trying to make it off the streets. Aside from the fact that you can get your stuff stolen quick, or even get hurt, you still have to think about what will happen if you do become friends. Sure, homelessness is a lonely road at times. Sure, we all like to make friends. But you do need to ask yourself, is this the right time in my life for new friendships? Ask yourself, "besides keeping me company, what is this new friendship going to do in my life that will help me get OFF the streets?" That might seem a little shallow but after you ask yourself that question, ask yourself another: "Is this friendship doing to keep me ON the streets?"

Is this friendship keeping you away from what you need to be doing? Do you find yourself tangled in a bunch of back and froth "IOU"s that prevents you from moving ahead?

Power in numbers works when all members in a party have the same goal.

"Well,  Homelessrob, isn't the main goal to get off the streets?"

YES! However, unless every homeless member in that group plans on living in the same house, every member in the group must go in their own direction to reach the goal. Because each member must go in different direction you have to learn to cut those ties. This is my long and short run strategy!

Homeless people are great resources though, I must say. As I mentioned to the woman, if you find yourself homeless, ask other homeless people questions. Homeless people are a world of information. You need a shower? You need some food? You need to know where a shelter is? Ask them! If you need to have your stuff watched for some reason you can always do the "I'll watch your stuff if you watch mine". For the record, not all homeless people will take your stuff.

Me, I avoid shelters, skid rows, and tent cities. I do not hang out with other homeless people. I don't ask them for anything. I don't feel like I'm better than they are. I"M ONE OF THEM! I just know that I'm homeless and have learned to live a life being homeless and doing it alone. It's how I fell into it. I give this advise through my experiences. You don't have to follow my lead on this! You do what you have to do!

Now, during the messaging with the woman another friend jumped into the conversation. He agreed with me on the "homeless people will steal your stuff if given half the chance thing".

He did not, however, agree with the "homeless camps looked like homeless parties" comment I made. LOL, I said it! I stand by it too. When I see a picture of a homeless camp it looks to me like a bunch of people NOT having fun, but instead just simply look like they are not so motivated to move forward. They look like they have found a way to live; they look like they have settled in, and are going to be there until sometime else comes along. My friend said something like "homeless camps are safe places". I get that. But I can find "safe places" where I don't have to worry about anyone else but me.

If I sound shallow or like I'm judging people I'm sorry! I'm not trying to do that. I'm just trying to get the point across that as a homeless person you are probably better off alone. If I wanted to sound harsh I would say something like "homeless people are going to slow you down. Homeless people will not want to see you make it off the streets. Homeless people are going to try to use you for everything they can and hold you down as much as possible". I might have said things like that in my post to. I still stand by it even though it sounds harsh.

Now not all homeless people are like that. I know a few who are not. However, I bet its a good 80/20 split. 80% of homeless don't want you to make it. 20% of homeless people want to to leave you behind. Its a dirty truth. I don't want to say but this is "Street Life". If you are homeless you already know this. If you are about to be homeless, expect it!

There are some cases in which power in number does work for homeless people though! I'd be remissed if I didn't point this out. For example, I know this group on FB called "homeless helping the homeless". That's a good idea. Also, as a friend pointed out today on the way to work, homeless people often work together and show "great ingenuity" in finding the loop holes on the "no panhandling in Tampa, FL" ban that the shellfish (IMO) people of Tampa made happen by selling news papers. 

On my way here I saw two homeless people picking up cans in a sort of "super bin on wheels". One homeless person picked up the cans while the other pushed the cart.

So yes, there is power in numbers when it comes to homelessness. I just don't think it works for the long run of things.

Last night, on my way to my tent, a homeless man saw me. He sort of jumped up from the bus stop and extended his hand. I shook it and he told me that his name was Dave. Dave had seen me walking around a few times. We also run into each other each Saturday at the church we go to. The Church provides a shower, breakfast and the Word. Dave was waiting for the bus. After I introduced myself the bus pulled around the corner. As I started to walk away, Dave hopped onto the first step of the buss and asked the driver for a free ride to the end of the street (a five minuet walk). The driver said "no" so Dave and I began our hike.

It didn't take long before Dave was offering me beer. I declined. He offered to hang out together also. I declined. Along the walk Dave mostly talked while I listened. Dave said a few things I thought were kind of funny. He said for him, "girls were always taking him down dead end roads and that if he wanted, that he would just stay with his people (homeless people, he meant). Dave was also just out of jail ending his 18th year of in and out of jail spells (Dave is in his 50s). A few times Dave was up to 10 feet ahead of me but I could still smell his breath. I could kind of tell he was a bit drunk anyways because before, whenever I ran into him, he had always been quiet. Last night that beer turned him into a chatter box. Dave offered me company (and beer) again before we parted ways for the night. I declined.

Now here is the thing: I kind of liked Dave. It was cool talking to someone (even listening). Dave would have been good company if he and I were not homeless. And if I knew him a little better I might have shared a beer or two with him. Despite his jail habits (we all have habits ) Dave was kind of cool!

I just couldn't open the door for Dave. I "dear Daved" him! In the long run, Dave and I are simply going in different directions. I can not open the door for distractions that are not helping me get off of the streets.

I'm sorry if I sound harsh and nasty but homelessness is not always a pretty thing.

Dear Dave,
Sorry bro! But good luck to you! I hope you find the job you want. You sure sounded to me like you would be a good sales person to me.

I'm sure I'll see you soon but if I don't, take care of yourself and stay out of trouble!

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