…then it all went Sideways and Stupid.

mary-ellen-mark-cast-of-one-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest-posing-for-their-photograph-on-location-at-the-oregon-state-hospital-salem-oregon-mary-ellen-mark-1974

…not with me…though as a member of the community at the shelter I would be tested too, but it was one insane night. Ambulances were called, blood was shed, people kicked out, and there were yelling matches and others banned. It was a mess and one really good employee may quit today – which would be a real loss because the frontline staff here are the real workers who help; the front office folk? I have seen them do jack since I got here. They come in at 10-ish, and eave at 4 p.m. and I cannot surmise what in the hell they do for anyone. (I have a 2 p.m. appt. tomorrow. I’ll bet you money I don;t have she won’t be there.)

So many people here are traumatized – and deeply so. It can be a variety of issues. One woman – who just went OFF this a.m. at everyone  has a history of being abused by men (beaten) and she is going through menopause and quite possible has a small drug problem.

In the fray, not even I can always talk them down.

Prior to that two guys in wheel chairs had been clashing. Yes – the battle of the wheelchairs (which really only guys would do.)

Then one woman, who packs round the most gigantic pack (very organized) replete with a host of stuffed animals, and who never speaks to anyone (I always say hi in town)  started to bleed uncontrollably yesterday and through last night. Finally my friend and staff worker tried to intercede and was angrily rebuffed. She called the paramedics who came and fetched her out of a pool of blood.

(It turns out the woman used to be a school bus driver and there was an accident and a few of the children died). Some people who are here are just sort of terminally ruined.

Then there is my friend M, who I loaned my sleeping bag to – not only can he not follow simple instructions (“{place it on my bed so someone else can use it”) he then is the world’s loudest snorer – supplanting myself by at least 50 to 1 decibels).

Two hours later a tweaker rolls in smelling (from 15 feet away) like he has been bathing in diesel fuel. He gets into it at 2:30 a.m. with some of the other men. He is booted out into the nigbt. Tweakers are fairly universally hated because in their addiction they appear to be soulless nd the closest thing to an actual zombie apocalypse that you might see.

In the a.m. everyone is in a foul mood except for a few of us who simply detach. But one guys decides he wants to mix it up with me.

It’s deliberate and he actually wants to mix it up with a guy twice his size.

So after cussing at me and trying to move the chair I am still using, I say it is staying right where it is (thank you very much). He says “You have no idea who I am.”

“I know exactly who you are and who I am,” I say.

He utters some monosyllabic unconnected semi-threats.

“Try piecing the words together into a full sentence,” I say. “see how it work for you.”

I regret this the second after I utter it – not because it will escalate things (he is not bright enough to counter – but because I really needed to simply shut up and let it pass. You don’t need to use a grenade on a guy with a pen knife. It was uncalled for on my behalf. . To do so was …stupider.

I sat down to cool off a bit. I thought about the day. I am really blessed. I am going to SF today, I have great friends and God has gifted me with so much.

I knew I was going to have to apologize to that guy, for my part. I have no business showing anyone disrespect no matter what. It’s not why I am here. And part of how I stay sane is by acting sanely in an insane situation. I don’t go sideways and when I do stupid things I own them quickly and fully.

In that regard this has been a very fruitful year for me. I have grown in leaps and bound.

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Doc Love
    Sep 16, 2014 @ 05:21:36

    Good job Mac

    Reply

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