April 23rd, 2011


(no subject)

It's been a long week. I tried to kick off my cold but it stayed around. For days now, I've been talking as if I just smoked sixty years of cigarettes. I just roused myself out of bed for the second time today, leaving behind three other snoring, humanish lumps in the bunks around me. When I was depressed on my own, wasting life and time, it seemed like a self-indulgent sin. In the shelter, it resembles something more systemic.

I got someone at the housing program to give me an estimate of the length of time I'd be on the waiting list for a room--about a month and a half, they said. My case manager had been trying to persuade me and himself that the absence of information meant I could be there within a week. He finally mentioned an actual day--Wednesday--that the shelter might have to kick me out its doors. Not the shelter proper, but the crisis program that has been providing me with a round-the-clock bed. I won't stay in the main shelter. I can't and won't. In the main shelter, people's entire existences revolve and hinge on getting a bed each day, and their schedule is circumscribed very strictly by the shelter's timetable. Out the door with all your stuff by 7:00 a.m. If you've managed to get a locker, you could stick around maybe and take a shower without losing your stuff. Bed opportunities for the coming evening start at 8:30 a.m. so people hang around. If you're expecting mail, you can't pick it up until 1:30. No laundry services in the main shelter. It's meager and demeaning even at a remove.

I've been in a mood as terrible as rough weather. Last night after a period of sobbing and thinking of my mom I lashed out in screaming rage at my bunkmate, who was recently released from prison for assault. She'd just asked me if I was okay. But the measure of how miserable and pathetic I am is that I sobbed apologies within seconds, feeling guilty and horrible, and she softened and called me honey and reassured me it was okay and gave me the room for a bit. Later she told me her life story--a lot of people do that here--and projected our friendship well into the future. However, she probably forgot everything five minutes later, so no real commitment should be expected.

My cold is deep in my body, doing things to it. A nerve in my jaw is agonizing. I seem to have lost some hearing in my right ear. Today I went for the heavy-duty cold medication and now my head is numb and the world feels Kafkaesque.

Short-sightedly I only booked thirty minutes on this computer and now I have to go. I am lonely and floaty and achey today; my throat is raw. I'm going to pick up some food and go back to bed, I think.

I want to say a thank you. The money has made a huge difference. I didn't want to admit it. I wanted to imagine myself as fiercely independent. But without people's help I think I would have sunk under by now.

A passing wave,