Friday, April 29, 2016

Sitting on the concrete

When I got off work from my freelance gig, the guy who drive me to and from the sub shop deposited me at the shopping center. I had nothing to do, so I just sat there on the concrete. At least it wasn’t raining. I went to Target to get something to eat. I bought a container thing of salami and cheese. Browsing around Target, I was really stunned at how expensive food is. The salami and cheese was around $4.50. That might not seem like much, but when you’re counting every penny, four bucks seems like a load of dough.

I mentioned in the previous post about the looks you get from people. Last night was filled with those

looks. The hair salon in the center does a brisk business and Wednesdays and Thursdays it’s open until 8 pm. I don’t know exactly what the women do in there, but the 8:00 closing time means they don’t leave until around 10 pm. It seemed the evening was a parade of artfully coiffed ladies with peering eyes. It would have been funny if I wasn’t so self-conscience about my appearance. The looks seem to express to me, “Watch out for the bum,” or “How pathetic.”

I thought I’d watch a bit of t.v. to pass the time. I might be homeless, but I can still get some entertainment on my iPhone. I can, at least, when I have a wifi connection. Fortunately, the shopping center has wifi. It does, most of the time, at any rate. Apparently, I’m right on the edge of the wifi signal. So, t.v. on the iPhone is something of a hit or miss proposition. The best I could do was watch a Twilight Zone episode. It seemed to fit since my life has become a starring role in my own personal Twilight Zone.

After the show, it was time to nestle up and try to get some sleep. I laid out some plastic on sidewalk and tried to get some rest. The ants, however, had different plans. They drove me nuts. I'm a bit buddhaistic in that I believe in relocation rather than killing. Relocation wasn't an option, so I sprayed some insect repellent around the area. Another stroke of luck was having the repellent in my bag.

I use my briefcase as a pillow. As soon as my head hit it, my mind started racing. What would tomorrow be like? Do I have enough money left for a cup of coffee in the morning? And, of course, recounting how I managed to get myself into this situation.

A racing mind is a bad thing, me thinks. A large part of the thought speedway was feeling sorry for myself. When that started happening, I tried to shift my thinking and remember well-known people who were once homeless and rose above it. Actress, Halle Berry, once stayed in a homeless shelter in her early 20s; personal finance guru Suze Orman lived in her car; James Bond actor, Daniel Craig, was like me sleeping on park benches (when I had one); talk show host, Steve Harvey, lived in his 1976 Ford Tempo for three years before his big break; Drew Carey was homeless in Las Vegas enrollee to California. I guess I’m in pretty good company.


  1. Hi Neil,
    I posted on the other article but it's not there. Anyway I thank you for writing this blog as it will hopefully serve to highlight the lack of support for people in your situation. There just aren't enough services to help homeless folks get off the street and start over. It's not a dead end -- there is hope and I hope that by writing this blog, you are linked with other folks who can relate or help in some way. After all, a lot of us are just a paycheck away from your situation. Keep writing, and keep the faith.

  2. Hi Neil, when I read your entry, my mind jumps to urgency and solutions. I want to say--come to Boston, there is an empty room for you at my house. I want to say--fare isn't that expensive, I can PayPal it to you. But then I realize, solutions are probably not so much what you are looking for by writing these entries, so much as to pass time and process your situation. There was an earlier entry where you talked about death. It made me realize that a big part of hopelessness is disowning agency and responsibility--that maybe that is a way of coping with a seemingly hopeless situation.

  3. Hi Neil, We used to work together on I'm so sorry that this has happened to you... Like the previous commenter, I wish I could offer an immediate solution. You're such a talented writer and designer who has made such an impact on the design community. Please do not give up hope. Will send you a donation at your gofundme page.


    1. Hi Nicole,
      How are you? You know how I am, I suppose. Thanks for the kind words about my writing. They're appreciated.

      I'm hanging in there. Doing a bit better now that I'm in a hotel and off the sidewalk. It has been an interesting ride and I've learned so much. So, it isn't a total loss.

      Thanks, again. Take good care.