March 23rd, 2011



Toni is definitely talking--not on the phone to someone else, but not to herself either. I only wish I knew what the other end was saying back.

Toni: "They're trying to set me on fire but I don't feel pain."

Unknown: "..."

Toni: "No--no, it's not sexual."

Unknown: "..."

Toni: "We're all going to die for this." (followed by great hilarity)

I haven't mentioned that Toni is remarkably and entirely bald, like a cue ball, and resembles a cross between an accident-prone male hockey player and Michael Berryman. She claims to be leaving tomorrow and I have to admit I'll be a little relieved when she's gone--but at least she's a known quantity. I've been lucky with the bunkmate lottery so far, but that could change any day.

I've been offline a lot--when I set out on an errand, each one seems to suck up an entire day and then suddenly it's 5:30 again and I'm stuck in the dorm for 13 hours with no wi-fi. I bought a notebook to write things in. Very old school.

I've had a few doctor's appointments. From each visit a new constellation of contacts and appointments seems to sprout--psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, social services, etc. I've discovered that I have some medical coverage from the DSHS; I hadn't known about it. They'd notified me months ago, but I'd been too depressed to open my mail. So that will cover prescriptions and--I think--therapy visits. I have a list of counseling agencies I need to choose from.

During my first meeting with my PCP (always a weird acronym to wield) we decided to up the dose on one of my antidepressants. I asked for that and she agreed. Some of my fuzzy pink-clouded ebullience wore off during the last week and I worry about losing traction, getting bogged down in my own head. And apparently any accrued benefits of the meds are really still a ways off, so...what does that mean? What accounts for my recently improved mood? Is it all in my head? (That questions half a joke, half not.)

Meanwhile Beryl is still absorbed, day after day, in her organizing project. I haven't witnessed anything being thrown out. Mostly things seem to be moving from one pile to another. Anything that involves words on paper she reads very carefully; sometimes she tears out articles, which go in their own particular stack.

We are both OCD in our way, though the scope and focus differs. I have all my possessions enclosed in zippered plastic bags, the kind that bed linens and pillowcases come in. What can I say. I had them. I might also be the only person in the shelter with a bottle of all-purpose, lemon-scented cleaner and a roll of paper towels.

Every time I go to the shelter bathroom, I walk in on a conversation about bed bugs.


When I look at my PayPal account, I freeze in gratitude. I'm working on that. The gifts mean a lot to me. There is something collectively angelic about this gesture of giving. In response, unsurprisingly, I've had a reflex of uncertainty and self-doubt: why me? I've given too, not just taken, but I still feel off-balance right now. I want to be on the side of the angels.