Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Monsoon of Gloom

Our lovely Monsoon of Gloom has finally arrived, though the way I'm saying it makes it sound like it's overdue, which it isn't. The climate here usually works is there's a spring of volatile weather — during which days coats are constantly being donned and doffed — that lasts from March through June, which is followed by a very dry Mediterranean summer that can get QUITE warm (temperatures in the nineties Fahrenheit, low- to mid-thirties Celsius) that usually doesn't end until near the end of September, after which there's two to three months of a gradual cool down and easing into rains until December, when it REALLY starts to get chilly and the intermittent rains of fall give way to a nigh incessant and often blustery deluge. We get anywhere between seven to nine months of rain during the year, which for the homeless presents the grave challenge of staying dry, or at least having a dry place to sleep. Failure to do so can result in chronic bronchitis or even pneumonia, on top of discomfort and logistical headaches such as finding dry places to loiter during the day and leaping over or walking around lakes that form when drains get clogged with leaves.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Shadow of the Spectre

A pall has fallen over the streets of Portland, and the streets are all abuzz about it and its cause: methamphetamine. Poor ol' junkietown's gotten itself all spun out, hearsay declaring the Mexican cartels have flooded the market; I know one can buy quarters (of grams) for as low as ten dollars. (I don't do the stuff, though I used to on occasion for two or three days.) I've been talking about tweakers off and on since I've been out here, but I have a feeling I've only been seeing the shadow of the spectre all this time — the foreboding, as opposed to the menace per se. Last Friday I went to my old freeway confluence stomping grounds, in search of free boots from a church school bus from Chehalis, and I saw tents and tarp-draped shopping cart pillboxes strewn all over the place; I'm guess the average block held AT LEAST ten people. Piles of junk, too, of course; every single one of the slinking figures I saw had sunken cheeks and scabs on their face. Tweakers, the real children of the corn.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Caveat Emptor

Bed bugs. What I thought I'd left behind at that awful Fairfield roach hotel I used to live in crept back into my life a few days ago, hitchhiking on a pillow I bought at the William Temple. Well, it may have come from elsewhere, but the fact remained at the time that I had to do something about it, and QUICKLY! Especially after a few nights of feeling bugs crawling all over me and waking up with bites here and there, which may or may not have been real — it's pretty easy for me to freak myself out about that kind of thing, given my revulsion to most members of the insect kingdom.