Me, Carrie Ann, Patrick, Andrew, and the homeless woman we got involved with.

The other might my daughter Carrie anf I were on our way to my grandson’s (Andrew) apartment to do some ‘cultural appropriation’ and make tacos. In the parking lot outside his place in the Old Market was this homeless woman crying hysterically asking God what it was that she ever did to anyone that she should deserve being on the street and having most of her possessions stolen. Nobody cared. Nobody stopped to help her. People avoided her like the plague. But that’s life here in Lower Hooterville. it’s why I hate it so much. Anyway we asked if she needed something to drink what we could do, and she asked if we had some rope. We didn’t. (More about that later.) I gave her my Gatoraid and we left to go in the apartment and get her some stuff.

HER STORY: It turned out that she’s been on the streets for three years. She has mental problems and can’t afford her meds. And hadn’t eaten in a couple days. Getting her food was easy. We were going to make tacos so she just had to wait a little bit. It was surely NO great sacrifice on our part, because we had more than enough for all of us and plenty left over for nachos the next day. (Yeah, I know. More cultural appropriation.) So we told her to sit down and wait and we’d be right back.

Poor woman. She had to wait outside because of my grandson Andrew. He has mental problems himself. He’s bi-polar, autistic, and schizophrenic. He’s quite the handful. He also suffers from EXTREME paranoia and has delusions. The poor guy (he’s 23), he’s so bad that he’s convinced that he has written songs that famous people have stolen from him and gotten rich off of. He’s actually contacted those people. Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Gaga and Justin Bieber are just a few of the people he’s raged at on social media and at their recording labels and accused of stealing his music. It’s a mess. But that is my grandson. Add to all that he’s a germaphobe (is that a word?) Anyway, because of all Andrew’s problems, she had to wait outside.

We got the food started and Andrew and I went back out to talk to her. I asked her to calm down and asked what did she need immediately. She said she was so distraught because she needed bus fare to go see her (also homeless) boyfriend at Bergan Mercy Hospital who was having his arm amputated and she had no where to get it so she was walking. She had hidden her duffle bag and their other belongings behind some bushes she thought was a ‘safe’ hiding place the night before and someone stole the duffle bag with their best stuff in it. She just couldn’t carry what they had left because she was alone now that he was hospitalized, so she needed rope to tie everything together so she could drag it behind her. (What she/they had left was a beat-up pull suitcase and some plastic grocery bags with a bunch of their mostly dirty clothes.) I told her we’d find her a ride and some rope.

And here’s where I think we had a little help from God or the fates. Carrie had been to the dollar store about an hour earlier to get paper plates and towels and on her way out the door she knocked over a display of those metal contraptions that you see people pulling behind them. Those metal carts on two wheels. They we’re on sale for $30! It was like an omen. So Carrie bought her one (I have no money). I am really proud of her for doing that.

I called my son Patrick and told him if he came down to Andrew’s place he’d be given some money to take this woman (and her stuff) out to the hospital. My daughter has an expensive tricked out Volvo SUV and didn’t want this poor, and extremely smelly woman in it, Hence having to find her a ride. I thought that was petty, but it’s not my car so I kept my mouth shut (for a change). He said okay.

We figured we could bonk a more than two birds with one rock that way. She could see her boyfriend, have a place to take a shower, and she could take their stuff with her. Plus she could spend the night in his room on the couch because his surgery was early the next morning. Patrick loaded her up and they took off. When they got to the hospital he sat in the parking lot and put that cart gizmo together so she could haul everything in. He was amazingly patient and kind. See, my son can be quite a dick. But he wasn’t in this case. But he told me his car still smells so bad you gag. Oh well. I told him it’s a reminder for him of how bad life can get in a heartbeat.

Now, the point of all this nonsense is that life can really suck. I have no money, my kid pays for this phone I’m currently tapping on, and there have been days when the pantry was pretty bare. But I can always get food. My kids won’t let me go without. (I just don’t want to ask Carrie sometimes because she helps me so much.) She does nag me to find work, but not a lot because she’s taken me on plenty of interviews and knows I just can’t get hired. (I’m 68 with certain disabilities so I can’t be on my feet all day, which means Walmart greeter is out.)

BUT MY LIFE ISN’T AS BAD AS TIFFANY’S. (That is the woman’s name.) And I am pretty certain that it never will be. I owe that woman a huge thank you for reminding me that yeah, things are tough. But life could easily be worse. Much worse. When she thanked Carrie for that cart she was so happy and she told Carrie she was so grateful and that she at least now had one luxury item in her lifenow. I almost lost it.

So thank you Tiffany. I wish you well .

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Comments

Granma's picture

Out of car with some stuff called Pure Citrus found next to air fresheners at grocery store. It is not perfumey. It works and clears the air. I’m allergic to fragrances and was pleased to discover this stuff several years ago.

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Amanda Matthews's picture

@Granma

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10 users have voted.

I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

ggersh's picture

thanks for the story, it put a smile
on the face

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15 users have voted.

“Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it.”

Hannah Arendt

The Aspie Corner's picture

We could easily alleviate things such as this, but we'd rather live as 16th century Calvinists instead, Predestination, Divine Right of Capital and all.

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16 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

snoopydawg's picture

Something like this could happen to any one of us,MA family member or friend. It doesn't take much to see your life change.

This story brightened my day.

IMG_1671_1.JPG

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15 users have voted.

Self-censorship actually silences exponentially more anti-establishment opinions. For every one voice you crack down on overtly, a thousand more silence themselves out of self-preservation

Amanda Matthews's picture

@snoopydawg

about my life. AND FAR ANGRIER at the bloodsucking leeches who begrudge people like her shelter and food.

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14 users have voted.

I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

mimi's picture

@Amanda Matthews
it's what we need to hear to understand each other. I am always torn apart from telling something personal to me and my family and to not do it, because I feel it could hurt someone I love and bring on more painful experiences for us.

If I would show my son the story you wrote here, he would just shout, if he had a damn place to himself and had control who lives with him, those who have no place to sleep would sleep at his house for free. Smell or no smell. It's the social environment which doesn't tolerate "smelling free loaders" in their vicinity of their own homes. That's the way it is.

That anger ... is so deep and understandable ... nobody should doubt the damage it causes. I wouldn't have understood it if I hadn't seen it up close personally. And I hate these conditions way more than I had before. It can even destroy families and humanitarian behavior. And it is kept hidden for long, long times. Nobody admits them. Nobody wants to let those thoughts get into their brains.

Take good care of yourself, the best you can. We all need to. And again thanks. I wish you strength and peace.

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janis b's picture

For me your experience highlighted the invaluable nature of having someone in life to share the warmth and care of love with, or even tacos. Knowing that the woman had someone in her life to live and care for was heartening. You and your family are especially fortunate to have each other as support, enabling you to pass it on.

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14 users have voted.

for doing this and thanks to your kids as well. It's a tough thing to do because you never know if your'e being taken advantage of or not. I'm thinking that this is what has to be done because the alternative is just to throw people away as if they never existed. We are making people invisible, things like this should be on the news every night. I don't quite know how to go about it, but talking/writing about it is step one.

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Raggedy Ann's picture

that this could be any one of us. Living without water - to shower, clean up, wash clothes, etc. - further disenfranchises people. Who wants a smelly person in their car/home/vicinity? Thank you and your family for your collective kindness. Give rose

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8 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

mhagle's picture

You weren't probably thinking about this at the time, but your actions are what real religion should be.

You and your kids are God. IMO

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

Lily O Lady's picture

internet/manga cafes where people can stay overnight for a reasonable fee. The beauty part is that there are bathrooms which are said to be kept spotless where people can bathe!

I have never seen one as I don’t really know Japanese, but I have read about them several times. My stay in Japan was short and constrained by family obligations and lack of language skills. Anyway, these cafes are used by young people with low wage jobs in place of housing. Not all homeless use them though.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

The Aspie Corner's picture

I remember years ago I ran into a deaf homeless person on the way home from work one day and offered him what little cash I was carrying at the time. He signed thank you and tried to offer me part of his candy bar ( I told him no thanks given he needed it more than I did). Used to run into quite a few homeless folks on the bus routes also. One lady had just gotten approved for SSI right before she had a heart attack and died.

For all the propaganda we hear about the so-called Space Coast being such a 'great' place to live, this is one reality that is often ignored.

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8 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.