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A day in the life as a Homeless Man

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Let me explain a day in the life of this homeless guy:

I wake up in my tent anywhere between 8am and 10am. I have a liter bottle of water which – after I’ve packed most of my stuff – I’ll then strip down and bathe myself thoroughly from head to toe with soap and water. I do my laundry every 3 to 4 weeks, which means I reuse my wardrobe – so I do the smell test on my clothes if I haven’t freshly washed them – and then I get dressed with pretty clean clothes.

I use deodorant.  Irtish Spring is my favorite. I just learned two weeks ago that it when combined with the heat from the hot dryers I use at the laundromat was turning the armpits on my clothes black, which not only was ruining my clothes but making me look ghetto. And I just don’t like looking or feeling ghetto.

From there I pack my backpack up tight and suitcase which has fallen apart – I bind it together, and then throw my down comforter up in the tree above the mattress I sleep under for safekeeping – and then hope the fence to the metro parking lot – occasionally saying hi to the officers who are hanging out in their car on the other side of the wall as I walk up the ramp and then veer back over the bridge to Starbuck’s.

I arrive at Starbuck’s usually by about 10am every day, and get my coffee and a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese – that’s breakfast. And then I do the free refills throughout the day afterwards.

How I can afford it is – infrequently someone will hand me a gift card to Starbuck’s with $25 or $50 bucks on it, which I consolidate on the gold account I use which has kept me fueled for a couple years now.

I quit looking at news a few years ago, and if anyone tries to talk about it I ask them not to, and if they don’t respect that, I’ll put my hands over my ears and say “LALALALA” out loud. I just don’t want to hear your fictional drama crap anymore on this world. Tired of it.

So first – I’ll hop on the internet.I’ll avoid anything that looks like your typical CNN/Reuters/AP news. And I’ll go to my torrent web sites and browse for new things – tv shows, movies, and discretely look for fun porn that even if you saw my screen you’d have no idea what I was doing.

I prioritize the tv shows first and highest – usually I’ll have one of those that downloads in an hour, and typically I’ll have one or two cued up from the day before so I’ll watch those while the new ones download.

Westworld, for instance, is coming down tonight and I do SO look forward to where they take that story. I’m convinced that EVERYONE is a robot, varying levels of robots in this world, and that’s beginning to unfold and come true. It’s a fun show with a dark edge that I’m hoping somehow lightens up.

So from there, once I’ve watched my morning shows – usually about two hours – I’ll switch over and either play in my virtual worlds – right now I’m primarily focused on the Everquest 2 world and Assassin’s Creed Black Flag world.

That or I’ll program.

I’m currently teaching myself something called OpenGL three dimensional programming leveraging one of my personal favorite languages – Visual Basic 6.0 to do it with.Usually I set myself personal goals to achieve – like I have a long term goal for two projects I am working on, one’s a movie and I’m constructing the virtual sets for it and the other’s a time traveling vessel in which I’m constructing the interior to. I don’t have a plan and method I’m using to construct each and am working on bits and piece of each as time, my attention, and my energy permits.

So today and tonight I’ll be working on lighting and something called emission sources of lighting. OpenGL has an inbuilt limitation of 9 lighting sources, but the lighting model with OpenGL is unintuitive and a chore to work with. So I’m going to focus on doing lighting my own way, leveraging what feels more natural to me with emission sources – like street lights and the like – and hopefully abolish the weird limitation of 9 sources and work with lighting in a way that feels more intuitive.

This isn’t unusual. Somedays I get hung up ‘grinding’ in Everquest 2 – you know – chasing a level and simply killing mobs one right after the other to move that needle from level 44 to level 45.

Yesterday wasn’t highly ‘productive’ – but I took a look at Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and marveled at it’s graphics, if only it wasn’t so harsh to my machine with the system requirements as the game is only marginally playable at the absolute lowest of settings. A true test of my patience.

I also tried out Sims 3 yesterday and will be uninstalling it. Here’s the thing about Sims games – It all just fee;s so – contrived. I mean. If it was just myself sitting in a home watching tv and whatnot – that’s fine. But watching a much lower resolution version of someone else sitting at home watching tv in a highly limited world is just….

boring.

And no matter how much ‘add ons’ that can be added. I just don’t find the entertainment in things like this.

NOW let’s say I could do this same thing with real people in my real world around me. Maybe even old friends or women I’d be interested in. The experimentation I’d do would be… Shall we say…

Hmmm.

But Sims 3 in itself is just dull, boring to me. Even with the future depiction it’s still boring.

Off it goes.

So aside from games, movies, tv shows. and ingestion of a great deal of coffee and the occasional programming.

Between the hours of 2 and 4pm I’ll take a walk over to Ralph’s as someone watches my stuff at Starbuck’s. I know most people there and they’ll hand out free ‘samples’ of chicken fingers and things like that. Which provides a modicum of my hot food ‘fix’ – and then I’ll buy lunch and dinner on my EBTs – which has to be cold food.

Why they made that rule I’ll never know. I mean. Why is it we’re not allowed to buy hot food with food stamps?

That makes absolutely no sense.

In any case. I return to Starbuck’s. Hang out usually until between 8 and 9pm. Then I go back to the park, set up my tent, and wash, rinse, repeat the same sequence 7 days a week with exceptions made for the occasional journeys to a fast food restaurant or laundromat.

That, sincerely, is a day in the life of this homeless man.

I don’t beg. Ever. I just don’t like it. And if someone offers me something – usually a food item. sometimes I’ll say yes, but many  times I’ve already eaten and don’t need more food.

Now what I miss is simple companionship.

Women tend to treat all homeless men the same way. As if we have the plague. And if they engage in us, rest assured there’s never going to be any undertones of romance. Being homeless has helped me understand just how shallow the vast majority of women truly are, as without an income or a house, I’m nothing to them.

Which is fine.

Now there’s some general misconceptions I would like to clear up about not just me and my situation – but about homeless people in general.

I’m frequently yelled at to ‘get a job’ by people who don’t know me as they drive by me pushing my suitcase who feel like it’s their right and responsibility to insult the man who just doesn’t care anymore. Many people openly make the assumption I have a drug or alcohol or mental problem which keeps me here, or that I have a problem with self loathing and depression if it’s not alcohol.

But let me first explain who I am:

I’m well educated. A bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree from the #1 Global Management University in the world. I’m proud of the educational work I’ve done and enjoyed it too.

I’ve worked as a programmer off and on for since I was 11, and know about 40 programming languages – and at my peak I made about $150 an hour.

And I also had a history of experimentation and enjoying adrenaline rushes.

And while I’m a private pilot, and have been to 40 countries, 6 without a penny to my name, I’ve also made choices most would consider questionable in my choice to become addicted to things like cocaine, alcohol, and sex.

Sure I made choices, some of which I regret. But I had fun with those choices.

Now here’s the options that are realistically available to me to find shelter as a homeless man:

There’s state subsidized homeless shelters. Shelters which cost $5 a night and are filled with people I prefer not to associate myself with. Drug addicts and alcoholics. People who aren’t really homeless and probably wouldn’t be if the shelter didn’t exist – and they take advantage of the inexpensive housing which is – in a word – ghetto.

Now coming from a history of addiction and not wanting to fall back into it or be tempted, my choice here is a non choice – I don’t want to put myself around this ‘element’ and stand the chance of falling back into the previous cycles of addiction I was in. So these shelters aren’t really a palatable option to me.

To be clear though – California State offers GRE – It’s a cash award totaling $200 a month – and is offered to those with mental disorders and to those who are actively looking for work. Sure, I’ll tell someone I’m God but this doesn’t classify as a mental disorder, and I’m not interested in looking for roles which are beneath me.

Now keep in mind that these shelters are SUPPOSED to be fully state subsidized – and this GRE award would completely be chewed up by this housing. So most residents are leveraging that award to stay at these places.

It wasn’t planned that way. Someone just decided to take advantage of the privatization and make some money on the unchecked processes which serve the truly unassisted homeless population.

But let me be clear.

I’m better than that. I deserve more. Flat out. With as hard as I’ve worked for this society and world – paying millions in taxes, combined with my time and effort – when given the option to stay in a drug infested and alcohol infested ghetto housing – and be forced to look for jobs in a job pool I have seen absolutely nothing of interest in.

I do what’s best for me.

And say no to that insanity.

I’d rather sleep in a tent with natural elements around me in a park.

I sleep better that way and my mind’s calmer not being around all that.

So being realistic. This isn’t helping me out. If you think your society is doing me a favor by offering me roach infested housing with the rest of the addicts of society. That’s just not right.

In fact. That’s just abusive and I refuse your collective societal abuse.

As for other options for housing and shelter continue this slippery slope of poor logic assuming I’m an active addict.

It’s been four years since I’ve had any contact with any substance.

So these other options – whether they are religiously based agencies providing assistance or seemingly altruistically based organizations which offer housing – they all come at a price.

They assume you’re an an addict, and expect the addict to attend AA and/or NA meetings, and regularly do drug tests.

I’m not. Not sure how to put that any other way.

So shelter wise, there are really no options for this homeless guy.

This is why I sleep in a tent in North Hollywood and have been homeless for going on four linear years.

The other day – someone ask me online – can I knit something to help out the homeless, and if not, what can I do to help?

Homelessness is a situation of choice more than it’s an endemic problem of society. It’s a misunderstanding between society and those who find themselves like me – as Malcolm Gladwell would say – an Outlier.

I’m not interested in mediocre jobs that don’t pay well because I deserve better with my education, experience, and background. I’d spent years as an insecure man engaged in low self valuation of my own services which had me selling my services at far less I should have been compensated. And logically, mentally, it’s just poor logic which would have me returning to these low paying roles ‘just to get back on and until I get what I deserve’.

I know that time isn’t coming without dramatic change to me. Saying no to those roles is the start of those changes.

There’s varying reasons that homeless people wind up homeless. But in my experience. Homelessness is more demonstrative of people and a society exercising true individuality for the first time than it is a problem that’s summarized across a group of people which can be dealt with as a community.

Let me be specific. To the person who’s wanting to knit something. I can promise you there’s a homeless guy or gal who will love you like a mom for giving him or her something you made with your own hands. You took the time and effort for her or him. Which is unusual. We as homeless people tend to be grouped together and insulted accordingly. So when you take the time to discover or provide for us as individuals, it lights us up inside.

But for me. Make me something. I have a mom. She’s made me things. In fact I have too many clothes. SO IF you’re gonna provide something for THIS homeless dude. A guy who takes pride in his appearance. A guy who bathes regularly. A guy who doesn’t like smelling like a homeless guy. A guy who comes from a history of having tailored shirts and suits, name brands, and enjoys feeling good about how he looks and how he dresses…

For me. Ask for my size. Ask for my preference. Let me show you what works. I have an irregular body and clothes don’t fit me well so I’ll toss things people gave me away because they just don’t feel good or fit at all.

But knitting something. While nice. Just doesn’t really work and burdens me more. And while there was a time I might have appreciated that effort, now I just look at it as you stroking your own ego without really taking the time to get to know me and what I’d like.

I know, us homeless people can be so complicated.

And food.

I get people asking me if I have dietary concerns. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate them asking. Onions, tomato paste, and oranges annihilates my ulcer – an ulcer acquired from years of stress that still hasn’t gone away despite not working for four years. So I’ll toss foods or spurn offers when this is what is in the food.

Now take me out for dinner. Try to chat with me. Humanize me. And I’ll hug you.

Back when I was working. I saw a homeless guy on the side of the street and drove him a couple miles and took him to McDonald’s. Something people have done for me and I am greatly appreciative of. Back when I was working I took two men who were looking for work on the side of the road and put them to work for a day, then despite them not speaking a lick of English, i took them to Jack in the Box for lunch and told them to get whatever they wanted – and they took advantage of it and did.

Sit down restaurants – even fast food – go a long way for this homeless guy, ESPECIALLY if you hang out with me.

But to end this –

I can’t say I’m a victim and that’s why I’m homeless.

Society simply isn’t offering me the choices I want and desire.

I have $140k in debt. if I take any job, any bank accounts I open will be garnished, and I’ll be working to regain a lifestyle which had me stressed out and suicidal and paying off my debts without any tangible benefit to me. All the work to elevate my status and class has had the opposite effect than desired, and there’s no real options made available to me to change that.

This isn’t self pity talking. It’s reality. Hollywood has plenty of jobs that pay 7 figures and more. And I love the idea of getting into science fiction and fantasy film to achieve this income. Which will let me pay off my debts, elevate my lifestyle, and maybe pay it forward by commissioning the creation of video games and movies I might enjoy.

I’ve seen behind the curtains of this reality.

And I’m fully aware of it’s true nature and am fine with that.

Which is why my homelessness isn’t an individual problem.

It’s a societal one.

I know what I want. I have paid my dues.

 


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