Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wild Wild West

Last Wednesday I was warned by a resident of the Maginot Line kitty-corner to me that someone had been seen in the neighborhood going through belongings left behind by some of his neighbors during the day, and was also "messing with people" during the night. I didn't ask what was meant by "messing with", but I found out Easter Sunday. At around 4:30 AM that morning I was woken up by a beam from a flashlight flickering across my face, and when I peeked out from around the corner of my shelter I saw a shadowy figure scurrying away from my spot. I was perturbed but remained nonetheless because relocating would have been a pain and probably have prevented me from getting back to sleep before dawn. Half an hour later he reappeared, this time sneaking around from behind me! Again I was startled awake by his flashlight; this time I peered out and stared at the guy, whereupon he muttered some balderdash about how I may "lose something", pointing at my backpack I was using as a pillow but trying to play it off like he meant the shopping cart I'd wheeled there the night before in preparation for the morning's marathon canning run I'd planned. I feigned ignorance of his larcenous intentions and patted the shopping cart by my head and asked him "What, this thing?", to which he answered yes and asked if it was mine. I responded in the affirmative, after which he wandered off. Goddamn CREEPY!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bottles and Cans Just Clap Your Hands

Canning is a job, and a dirty, tedious, frustrating, and humiliating one at that. Of course most people probably don't view it as being legitimate work, and insofar as I'm not a part of the production of a desired good or service they're right. But it IS labor, and it does pay, though seldom more than a third Oregon state's minimum wage and half of the federal. That stark nickel-at-a-time reality puts to shame my youthful resentment toward food and service work; how grateful I'd be right now to earn ten bucks an hour washing dishes! I wouldn't be making a pitiful spectacle of myself rooting through trash cans in public, only to lump heavy and unwieldy garbage bags or trundle a noisy shopping cart full of a sticky, leaky mess that smells like a whore used Purple Jesus for a sitz bath ... culminating wearying hours and blistering miles later in fighting with fickle and often broken-down deposit return machines at grocery stores, reluctantly tended to surly "courtesy" clerks plunging wood stakes through my heart out of the corners of their eyes. All the while hoping I don't cut my hands on broken glass or contract hepatitis C from a casually discarded syringe. Yessir, I'll stoically don that goofy wage slave uniform, choke down my ire at the one or two unflappably incompetent and jackass bosses, and not groan inwardly at my tax withholdings every time I get paid.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Let's Ride Ride How We Ride

The rain has finally let up, except for some lackluster midnight drizzle earlier. It even looks like we may see a few more days of mostly dry weather, but of course you never know. Sure, April showers bring May flowers; but it gets old, scrambling under cover every time the clouds darken and the wind grows skittish, to wrap a rainfly over your backpack to prevent your sleeping bag from getting soaked, as does smelling faintly like moldy bathroom tiles from the dampness that even days spent in the local library can't dry out. Alas, I won't be sunbathing in Speedos™ — I've work to do. I've been canning for the past couple days to pay for another month's locker use and to improve my overnight shelter by making it more modular and lightweight — I'm working on a two-tarp lean-to design, since a quality free-standing two-man tent would cost me around a hundred dollars and be a bit more conspicuous than I care for.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Time to Stop Moping

This spring has been a lot harder on me than I thought it would be.

That point was underscored this morning when I realized that I actually felt comfortable for once! Up until then I've been going to bed in a single sleeping on a thin thermal pad, which has resulted in over two months of waking up to pain in my hip whenever I rolled around in my sleep trying to get comfortable. I've never been good at sleeping, really, being apparently very much a Princess and the Pea kind of guy on top of being a very light sleeper and having a hard time even falling asleep in the first place because of my mind's tendency toward obsessional restlessness and disquiet ... I guess I forgot somehow just how poor my sleep had been in previous forays out on the streets, which is strange considering how poor my sleep was even when I was living indoors this last time around. I have sleeping medicine, but it's a case or too little or too much: one pill won't do enough for me, but two of them will leave me dopey for much of the early part of the next day unless I take them twelve hours before I plan on rousing myself into the day. Of course, living beneath a freeway isn't any help, either, but options are pretty limited for homeless people in this town, and this freeway is much less noisy than any other place I've tried to camp out at.