I Work the Line

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Original cup art done by William McConnell for Christopher MacDonald ay Java Junction, August 30, 2014.

On Saturday and Sundays “Feeding the Spirit” comes out; a ministry that feeds the folk here at the shelter a really good meal in the morning. I was part of the crew as a volunteer when I lived in Capitola, trying to get out on Friday nights to help prep the food, but found it really difficult to get over to the shelter to help serve.

The commute is a lot easier right now.

I generally work the door, letting in handicapped people first and then five people at a time, spacing them out and keeping an eye on how crowded the dining room is getting. In the meantime I riff off people who want to play.

“Are you the reincarnation of Robin Williams?” one man asks. “Yeee-hus!” I exclaim as the Preacher. “The spirit of Robin is upon me to anoint your head with a polo mallet.” When extroverted I have always been a bit this way, only with a pituitary problem.

“One guy says “You sound like a Presbyterian!”

“No, ” I say ” a Presbyterian sounds lke this: ‘(solemn white subdued voice ‘Now we are going to organize a 12 month committee of lay-proffesionals to replace the Holy Spirit and all His gifting, Then we will hire a consultant to come in a destroy that work, mire things in another 6 months of backroom negotiations and finally defund the position.” I said cheerily. “You mean Pentacostal!”

“Yeah, YEAH! Pentacostal!”

“Be Healed!” I shout doing the hands thingy.

I spend the rest of the morning as a simple Scotsman counting them off because I don’t wanna offend the “Feeding the Spirit” folk.

Surprisingly, no one suggests it is “too early.”

*******

I was mistaken yesterday on one of my “stolen” items: the red roller bag. It was actually “given away (by some moron on staff) to another client.

redbagI came out onto the pad yesterday and saw it sitting there. I called the Great Reynaldo over and asked “Well, how do I handle this?”

Just then a woman said “That’s my bag.”

“No, it is my bag,” I said.

It all turned out to be a big misunderstanding – which few people around here can comprehend (because they have no margin). Once I knew she had not stolen it I could see she clearly needed it more than me. Moving from letting her borrow it to giving it to her was  – haha – a pretty short trip. Logically, I had just gotten my larger camo-backpack, the roller bag – on loan – would not last more than a few weeks of heavy action on asphalt – “Let her have it” came that little voice.

She really does need it far more than me.

*******

Now comes the fun part because some of you might think I am some sort of Mendicant monk in the making. I fit some of the requirements for sure. But I also have a date today. Obviously just tea for two as my budget seems, er…um…limited.

We met online and yes, of course she knows all. In fact she reads this blog (I will not be writing anything more about it by the way) The point is you still have a full life even if you temporarily do not have a home.

You just want to keep expectations low and not get real serious.

Kind of what folk should do with me.

Admittedly, in our culture only a small percentage of women will have the “stuff” to meet a man in my current situation – to see past the immediate and superficial to the man. I can tell you one thing, I trust and admire a woman like that.

And let’s face it – the chances of my meeting anyone who is a match are miniscule – even with a great job, a nice apartment, a car etc… TINY. So if you feel tempted? “Lighten up Francis.”

I’ve done my grieving (all five stages) and it is time to move on in all areas. Spend any significant time or energy in that area? Oh no. But I feel like i wasted 2.5 years of my youth on a no-win scenario and I am not getting any younger. Around here, dating would mean sex. Not for me. It just means tea, a walk, and some good healthy male/female energy and interest.

It is also a test for me. I refuse to allow my head to develop any shelter mentality and I encourage others to reject it as well. It is hard for many of them. They just installed this giant iron fence to locked everyone in. It is prison like. You could see morale go way DOWN as soon as the damnable thing was delivered and they started setting it up. It is the way America is going: more prisons, security – more bars and ways to incarcerate and control.

Meanwhile, just as I had seen when I worked here, nothing is really going on as far as getting services that advance things for people here. It took me a week to simply secure a bed so my stuff would not easily get ripped off and I have to cart it all over the city with me looking like, well, a vagrant.

They are not thinking practically or empathetically like even John (the other security guy who worked with me) and I would have last year (he is out with an injury). I am considering applying as a Case Worker here. I have the degree and I am an advocate…I would not mind living in the back cubicles (Page Smith).

The other things you do are for your head as well: keep up on your laundry so you have clean crisp clothes, shaving – never LOOK homeless and you won’t feel homeless. And serve where you can, but get off campus too (like I am typing this at the Java Junction where there is no noise and no second-hand smoke.

*******

The Great Reynaldo took me to his church this morning, a small Baptist church over on Seabright. It was fun. He’s like a superstar over there. He alternately lionizes me and then accuses me of being arrogant. He has a point on the latter. White males do have a sense of entitlement that is so ingrained we do not even see it – or I don’t. TGR points it out and laughs at me. It is pretty funny. I am learning from it, because I was under the misunderstanding that I so often deferred. It would seem that there are other layers, and as a black man in America where you are always suspect and entitled to NOTHING, it shows up on the radar really easily.

Thank God he just laughs at me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. greg schmidt
    Sep 02, 2014 @ 05:33:48

    “Tea For Two”

    I’m discontented with homes that I’ve rented
    So I have invented my own.
    Darling, this place is lovely oasis
    Where life’s weary taste is unknown

    Far from the crowded city
    Where flowers pretty caress the stream
    Cozy to hide in, to live side by side in,
    Don’t let it apart in my dream

    Picture me upon your knee
    Just tea for two
    And two for tea
    Just me for you
    And you for me alone

    Nobody near us to see us or hear us
    No friends or relations
    On weekend vacations
    We won’t have it known
    That we own a telephone, dear

    Day will break and I’ll wake
    And start to bake a sugar cake
    For you to take for all the boys to see

    We will raise a family
    A boy for you
    And a girl for me
    Can’t you see how happy we would be

    Picture you upon my knee
    Just tea for two
    And two for tea
    Just me for you
    And you for me alone

    Nobody near us to see us or hear us
    No friends or relations
    On weekend vacations
    We won’t have it known
    That we own a telephone, dear

    Day will break, you’ll wake
    And start to bake a sugar cake
    For you to take for all the boys to see

    We will raise a family
    A boy for you
    And a girl for me
    Can’t you see how happy we would be

    Reply

  2. M Bond
    Sep 02, 2014 @ 11:10:27

    Thank you, Chris. xoxoxo

    Reply

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