Sans Adobe 2013


[Editor’s note: I stopped posts when I ceased being homeless in December of 2011, coming up on 19 months ago.  I needed to catch my breath from literally 12 years of being in survival mode that began with my being laid off my job at Prima Publishing in Roseville. This last week signaled my first return to a job I was, and am, really called to: Campus Supervisor at Santa Cruz’s Homeless Services Center. If I can take those wild 8-hour shifts a day, I can deal with Sans Adobe again.]

In parenting they say you can give your kids what you never got and somehow you get some of it back. This is true. Well, yesterday I got some of my “stuff back” when a couple of guys at the shelter who had left their belongings out way too long after breakfast came back in the afternoon and I helped them retrieve them.

In Portland, and again in San Rafael, they had strict rules about holding your stuff. They would throw it out and it was gone. Sometimes you might get caught in another city (as the Homeless do) overnight and, after amassing valuables to keep you going over a year’s period – BANG – it would all be gone, thrown out. No sooner thrown out than torn apart and dragged off by others like fresh meat to wolverines. Too big and bulky to take with you everywhere,  and one call and a friend can stow it…but no.

Twice I lost everything I had painstakingly procured.

So the first gentleman approached me and SURE, there is the natural question “why did you just leave it there after breakfast and walk off till the middle of the afternoon?” As we walked over towards the garbage  area and I fumbled with the massive bulge of 40 keys, I thought “does it really matter?” I mean the fact is the guy needs his stuff and if it had been left out all this time someone would have stolen it by now.

The lock was big and I had to smash my considerable body mass into the gate to make the chain breath enough to open. The big gate swung open and he found his stuff right away on top of a pile.

He was very happy. He didn’t have  bed in the shelter last night and was gonna be camping up the hill. He had some major bedding and clothes in there. “You have NO idea how much this means to me” he said shaking my hand.

I smiled, “Um…actually I really do. Not a problem.”

Later, after I got  his friend his stuff I felt a lot lighter and really happy.

It was like undoing something wrong.


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