Every once in a while you meet someone on the streets who seems so vulnerable and unsafe, well it makes you wish you had a billion dollars, so you could really help.
Here are a couple of those folks:
Ted was getting kicked out of TPI, a day center for homeless people, and absolutely not having it. He is a six foot solidly built black man with the some kind of emotional handicap. Over all he is very gentle but I imagine he can get angry when confused.
He is arguing in a kind way with the TPI folks, but not making a hell of a lot of sense. I had seen him at Street Roots, a hobo newspaper, so I watched for a while, then walked over and offered him a cigarette. He eventually walks out with me confused by why he was asked to leave and then makes his way off pushing a shopping cart, at one point saying “I am a child,” in a pleading type of way.
TPI has a new director and they are making a lot of great changes like adding yoga and poetry classes. I talked to her as a way of advocating for Ted. She was very empathetic, but Ted had talked in a threatening, intimidating manner to some of the staff.
A couple of days later Ted happened by where I was selling Street Roots, pulled out his Street Root bag and started imitating what I was doing, I imagine, as a way of learning how to do it. I eventually gave him a cigarette and he wandered off again. It honestly looked like the human interaction of selling terrified him.
He is starting to trust me some. I lent him five dollars the other day and he offered to pay me back today, which honestly surprised me. He hangs around Street Roots a lot because I think it is a safe place for him and I believe he is without a root at all, what some would call an attachment disorder. The TPI director was sad to have to ask him to leave because she realized he needed a safe spot, as TPI is for many.
Then one day like a lot of hobos he was gone. Pray that Ted can find an internal safety and some peace.
Gina looks like a pretty mid-west college girl. How she got on the streets, I do not know. Many of the women out here are extremely emotionally damaged. You talk to them once and it goes well, next time they are screaming at you to leave them the fuck alone.
She shared a smoke with me once and that has been the end of our interaction. But she shows up in my dreams and I believe needs some prayers. The other day I saw her at TPI when I was in line to take a shower. She smelled badly, so much so that everyone was talking about it. She seemed not to notice the smell, or the whispers, thank God.
Gina and I eventually became good friends. I am happy to report, she got some housing, got on some meds for anxiety and seems to be doing very well.
I love you folks, God Bless.