Admittedly, I am homeless by choice.. I have friends i could stay with, family.. But i have always been interested in the experience, but never had the balls to commit to it. I am not fully, as luckily I still have my car, but even then, sleeping in it can be trying.
I began October 1st, when I was bunking with my buddy, who could only let me stay in the house until 5:30 AM, so after that, I would head to the recreation centre and write. Then I bunked at another buddies until the 10th, then I got my other buddies house keys and so I have that house if i really need it, but I did not wanna wear out my welcome, in case there are those nights when it hits -20 or -30, but luckily, so far, I have dodged the bullet and the weather has been surprisingly nice for Alberta.
Why be homeless? Because i’ve made some bad choices in the past, but also, I wanted something to write about.. Something to make those on the outside, like myself before this point, understand and also understand for myself.
The first thing i’ve really learned about being homeless is to keep moving.. Sitting in 1 spot is like death and because it is like death, people who pass by will often purchase the individual a sandwich or give them a smoke.. They see the low spirits. When sitting in one spot while homeless, it is like inviting death into your life.. You cannot just sit, must keep moving, keep being productive, even if it is just writing, you gotta continue.. Sitting in one spot drains your spirits like a single battery trying to power a 4 slot battery item.. Its just ineffective.
The second thing i’ve noticed is keeping your spirits up. Before I experienced this, when people asked me for a smoke, I would laugh and tell them to get their own, but now I realise that the smoke is all about keeping the spirits up, so you can keep moving.. Never settle for defeat. Also, if you want to watch how a homeless guy will use his money, buy him some food first and see if he saves it or tries to eat it all in one sitting.. That is the next thing i have learned.. I always took food for granted, but damn, food is money. A rumbling stomach can drive an individual to steal for food, this feeling i know now, resorting to using the food bank many times, is often a great alternative to having to steal to feed yourself.. I have felt very compelled to steal so far, but i haven’t, since the food bank is helping me out.
The third is the government service people who are there to help. I went and saw one the other day and holy fuck, she gave me more of her opinions on my bad choices I made to get here, than actual help.. I wanted to scream at her “Lady, i’m living in my fucking car, no shit it sucks, but i didn’t come here for your opinion or criticism, I came here to be helped!!!” I mean, my spirits were already low, being homeless, but then this lady beats me down into the dirt with her opinions on my condition, like fuck off you cunt.. Its super easy to sit on the other side of the desk, with a cushy job, somewhere to stay and judge somebody and it pisses me off that i was treated that way… Like, I have bad anxiety and even though i can manage it, I had some trepidation about going back.. I can see somebody who actually has a mental disability, who has significantly worse anxiety and is homeless, trying to be helped, simply in fear of going back, because they are being persecuted by some judgemental person with no filter or recourse, basically standing on a hill, throwing stones at the person, while they can throw none back, in fear of being thrown out and having to wait in line for another 3 hours or even worse, being banned from there all together. My experience, twice so far, with these people, has been extremely distasteful and riddled with unwarranted and unneeded opinions. They set me in a direction, where if they see that i want to help myself, they will also help, but I need to show that I want to help myself first and i totally understand that, but the opinions and judgements are just completely unnecessary.
Fourth, is the community. I have not been helped, but I also have not been called a fucking bum or anything else either. I have been treated very kindly by the community of people surrounding me. In a testament to this, I even started attending church and volunteering some of my time, an idea i would of laughed in the face of otherwise and the kindness I experienced through that church has been just fantastic.. I did not go there seeking charity, but rather spiritual and emotional support and was happily given it. I am still blown away by the kindness of the people at the service I attended Sunday and part of my faith in humanity has been restored.
Fifth is the humbleness in appreciating what little I have. I make about $400 a month, while being homeless and between gas, food and whatever else i need, that money will not stretch out for a month very long if I am buying fast food every day or something and so the value of the mighty dollar has really made an impression on me, I now know places where i can get a decent breakfast for $2, rather than going to some restaurant and spending $15.. $15 is easily a weeks worth of food, consumed in one sitting, it is just so wasteful it feels stupid now, looking back at the times i had always done that. If my car breaks down now, I am totally fucked, so limiting my driving has also been something I have had to do. Making trips count, even if it means putting them off for a week at a time, is important.
Sixth is appreciating the world around me more, becoming more observant. I have always been an observer, but having more time on my hands than I know what to do with, my people watching skills have become impeccable. I have noticed things in this library I am writing this blog in that I have never saw in my thousands of hours spent in it over the years. I have always been the rush, rush and rush type of guy.. So having some time to slow down, see things as they happen, watch people interact and just be more mindful of the world around me has been important.. It really let me understand that taking a moment to observe, is OK, where as before, I was just always on the move, unless something ‘worth’ observing was happening.. Now, I feel like everything I see is ‘worth’ observing.
Lastly, this is going to sound ridiculous, but I swear to fuck, I have a new found appreciation for can openers.. Those fucking things are like $15-$20!!! I figured they would be like $5 max (The one i bought broke on the third can of beans). Opening a can of beans with a fucking rock is ridiculously annoying, considering the amount of times you have to hit it, the scene you make as people watch you do it, the bean juice splatter once the can has finally been punctured.. I have a fucking designated bean shirt now, that I use to put over the can of beans, so I do not get my coat covered in fucking bean juice. ALSO, ALSO.. There are some brands of cans that are like super fucking strong, in comparison to others and I swear, maybe i’m just a pussy, but I fucking swear they make them so they fold in half, before you can puncture the top with the rock.. Holy fuck, one day I just about threw the bent in half can through the bank window, as the guy in the suit on the inside was eyeing me like I was some crazed lunatic and I basically was, this can was fucking up my meal plans.. Busch’s Beans, your cans are a fucking nightmare to get into, but the Great Value cans were actually pretty compromising, after about 5-6 hits with the rock, I was able to break into them, then hold the can over my mouth and cover myself in bean juice as I tapped the contents out, like some crazed satanic ceremony. Walking into a store with red juice marks all over your face is something i do not recommend though and further, asking to use their bathroom.. LOL.
I’ll add another entry, as i continue here, but i want to experience this for myself and get out of this, without anyone’s help, or with minimal help.. I want to work at this and feel proud to make it out, but also experience it and document this for people who have never before, so they know what it is like, to a point.
Thanks for reading, wish me luck! Hopefully some killer clown does not break into my shit at midnight, i’ll have to fuck him up with my bean can rock.