I have a membership at the Y for 44 dollars a month, plus another 6 dollars a month for the locker. The locker is immensely valuable. I am able to store all my clothes and important papers in it. That is safety! And it means I don’t have to lug another big bag around with me. Anyway, the cost is deducted out of my bank account on the 15th of each month, usually. So, for the past week or so I’ve been watching my bank account dwindle little by little, 60 dollars, then 56 dollars, then 53 dollars. I was guessing just how much money I could use and still have enough in the account to pay the bill when the automatic draft occurred. Then someone sent me money through paypal. Woohoo! So, I withdrew that money from paypal and sent it to my bank account. That action takes 3 to 4 days according to paypal. Well in actuality it only takes 2.
Then the weekend hit. My thought was, I could sure use a coke at McDonalds. If I buy one, it will put me under the 50 dollar limit I need to maintain to assure the bill gets paid when it goes to my bank account. Ah, but I have this paypal money coming. Maybe it will come to the account at the same time as the bill and so everything will be covered – well sure, if everything goes the way I hope it will go. The risk is that if I get the refreshing coke, then on Monday I’ll suffer an overdraft fee and that coke will end up costing me 30 dollars more.
I was jonesing for the coke so I went ahead and got it, putting myself in peril. What do I care? I’m a homeless bum, it’s not like anything is getting any worse for me. Just par for the course.
Well, lucky me. the paypal money came and the bill did not. I’m safe. Now, before you judge me for my less than pristine actions, you must understand that when a person is homeless, having something you desperately want is a tremendous relief, even if it’s risky.
On another note –
Last night, I tried talking to one of the other people who sleeps in the same area – up against the wall of an old warehouse. He locates himself just 15 feet away from me. He is the Walmart greeter type. He tries to have something pleasant to say to every person who walks by, whether they are homeless, not homeless, rich or poor, English speaking or not. He was already there when I first started sleeping in the area a couple weeks ago. I commented that he’s been around a while. He told me that he actually owns the building we are sleeping against, and that he received it as part of an inheritance, and that he was sleeping outside because he was renting out the building to some college kids who needed the help. Of course I don’t buy any of that, but who am I to argue? That he pays attention to what’s going on around the area, and lets people know it by engaging them with a short hello, makes the area much safer.
Also last night, I was awakened, as I so often am, by two people having an argument. One homeless man was yelling at another for dumping his piss bottle into a nearby planter. “Hey man, stop doing that! We’ll get in trouble for shit like that.” “It’s just water” was the reply. “bullshit”! blah blah blah. The argument when on for a a couple more minutes. Then I thought to myself, “Damn, that’s what I do. I piss in a bottle and then dump it into one of the nearly planters.” I better not do that…. when that dude is watching.”