I never planned on being homeless. It’s something that happens, to paraphrase John Lennon, while your busy doing other things. In my case, I made the mistake to moving from Ohio to Florida. My mother persuaded me to move. “The warm weather will be better for your health.” A few years ago I had a couple of strokes. At first, the move was good. I was writing and doing freelance graphic design work and I wrote and published a few books. Actually, four in all.
At the time, I was living at my mother’s house. Then, pretty much out of the blue, she decided to sell it and move into a retirement facility. That struck me beyond odd. The house was paid for. It was in a comfortable area and the neighbors were nice. She felt it was the right choice to trade a paid for house for a $2000/month rent.
Then moving day came in a whirlwind. She was in such a rush to move she started throwing stuff away rather than pack it up. My stuff, mostly. Stuff like my clothes, books I had collected over more than 30 years, my guitar and important papers. The list goes on. In the end, I was left with what I have now – a weekender suitcase with the few items of clothing I was able to salvage, my briefcase, my Mac Powerbook and a blanket.
Life without a home isn’t easy. I know that’s stating the obvious, but let me take you through a typical
|My former bench|
Back to my day. I get up around 6 AM give or take. Usually, I wake up several times during the night but I start the day at 6:00 AM. I walk over to the mall next to the shopping center to get a cup of coffee and wait for a guy to pick me up to go to the restaurant where he works. I landed some freelance graphic design work with the restaurant. They needed a new logo, menus and posters. Work is work and the owner gives me a few bucks at the end of each day, at least so far. I take that back. She didn’t give me anything yesterday. I’m hoping to something today. We’ll see.
The worst part of the day is when I leave the restaurant. Sitting on concrete, alone and completely bored, I pull out my phone and play Solitaire. Keeping my phone and laptop charged is always at top of mind. There’s no power outlet at the shopping center and I’ve got to remember to charge them at the restaurant.
I changed my opinion of myself during my time being homeless. My self-worth has pretty much
|Me - Before|
There’s a womens’ hair salon in the shopping center. The ladies there are, shall we say, a bit freaked out when it comes to the likes of me. I’m sure they think it’s bad for business. Judging by the people traffic, I don’t think I’ve created a problem. The ladies come and go with regularity. Sure, they try not to look at me, but they do. Looking is inevitable.
|Me - Now|
The other day I had the nicest thing happen. It was the weekend and I was sitting in my spot in the front of the mall. A little person, no more than about 6, came up to me and gave me $10. I was stunned. I turned to look and saw his mother waving at me. I said, “God bless you both.”
I’ll do my best to keep up with this blog by posting at lease once week. Share your comments. I enjoy hearing from you.