* I really have nothing better to do

(Transcribed from a letter to my mother dated 25 September 2007.)

This conversation yesterday with a co-worker astonished me.

“Peaches” is a 42-year old, very short woman, certainly a grandmother and very likely great-grandmother, who has about half her teeth. She works principally as a cashier, and is a really good worker and co-worker. She constantly teases me by pretending to flirt with me.

I was stocking the trash bags shelves, and became aware that she was in quite a pickle. Her shift was over, and she had appointments she had to keep at a certain time across town; but she also had assembled this bag full of items she needed to buy at once and before leaving the store. And the line at the cash register was quite long. (Long lines at cash register are a constant, intractable problem at this store.)

I told her facetiously, “Just go down there and push ’em all out.” She said, “No, that would be unmannerly, and that’s not like me.” (Conduct that can be called “unmannerly” is a big, big issue in this community, and a big issue for me personally since I see so much of it and find it offensive.) She went on: “Now, I like your manners. You speak to the customers …”
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* The New Age is a lot of hooey

(Reblogged 12/09/13.)

I keep telling them not to let guys sit on the bench in the shower buck naked.

They don’t listen.

So again, Friday night 08/30/13, when I went to put my stuff on the bench, here was this heavy brown smudge.  I carefully avoided it, but I told the peacekeeper, Philip, since he has access to gloves, rags and bleach, and I don’t.  He was texting.

When I came out of the shower to dry off and dress, the smudge was still there.  Philip was still texting.

This is a perfect example of why I think the New Age is just so much hooey.
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* When you can’t get what you want

There is a song from The Sound of Music that relates; it concludes, “… I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad.”

Wednesday morning I stood outside McDonald’s having my last smoke before leaving.  I considered that as soon as I got to the library, I’d need to count my pennies and plan spending for the rest of the week.  I pondered whether or not to buy a soda on my way there.  I’d had some unusual spending earlier in the week, and faced some more unusual spending in connection with the 4th of July (The library’s closed.).  The wisdom of having bought or not bought a soda at this time would depend on the outcome of that planning.

I decided not to buy a soda at this time.  If I had enough cash left, according to the plan, I could enjoy a soda later in the week.

This isn’t sacrifice; that’s a topic I must discuss in later posts.  It’s a matter instead of delaying gratification; a decision to forego a pleasure now for the sake of possibly having the pleasure later.  This is an important strategy in learning stewardship (right management of one’s resources) and in improving one’s lot in life.

It still leaves me without a soda, when I want a soda.  What to do?
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* Treasures in heaven

One of my buds came into McDonald’s this morning looking for me. I’d not seen him in about a week.  He’s in really good shape today, but it turns out that, as I’d supposed, he’d been on a bender.

We went out front to smoke and talk, and the time came for him to get on his way. I expected him to turn to go back upstairs to get his stuff. He did not. “Where’s your stuff?” I asked.

He’d lost it. Again. Everything. Kept only his I.D. and Independence card. Somewhere, sometime, while blacked out, he’d got up and left wherever he’d been, leaving behind all his belongings in a forgotten place.

In my immediately last prior post, “Me, me, me,” I said:

It’s not that I despised material possessions; I did not value them nearly as much as I (overwhelmingly) valued relationships.  What I did despise was the desire for material possessions.  As a result, now I have none.

Relationships are what I do have.  They are my treasures in heaven.

on air talent, talk show host, radio talk show, the homeless blogger

* Me, me, me.

This has been a very heavy day, and there’s a lot here.  For the moment, at least, I will not try to organize this.

Darkness at times appears to serve Light; destruction, to serve creation.

It is a rude awakening for me to have to revisit the world of infantile self-centeredness, apparently to have to re-learn correctly this time (at age 57!) some things I didn’t learn correctly on the first go-round.

A world where it is correct for me to want things only for “Me, me, me!”
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* Jacob’s ladder 06/26/13

Prayer for myself often takes the form of imagining myself climbing up a ladder out of a pit, the pit being my current circumstances of poverty and homelessness.  Getting out at the top represents a return to the normal life of the American mainstream.  I didn’t start with a ladder in there, but I decided to add one to symbolize the various structures and tools that others have made available to me — and eliminate the possibility of clawing at loose earth.

Here begins a list of “rungs” on the ladder that I’ve become aware I need to “overcome.”  Each one takes effort, exertion, to get over. I will update this list from time to time as I learn of others.

 1. Fear of the unknown.  See From my diary: Learning to pray.
 2. Jealousy of others who seem to be prospering more quickly than I am.  Details here.
 3. Times of despair.  I guess, from time to time, they’ll happen.  Details here.
 4. Incidents of utter selfishness.  Details here.

 5.

Moments of unusual hardship and sacrifice. Wednesday 06/26/13 I met my principal patron, hoping to pick up the second half of my allowance for the week. He could only give me 2/3 of the amount. With two minutes left on my phone, and no more cash expected till next week, I e-mailed a supporter in Texas and invited an early birthday present in the form of his putting minutes on my phone. I had to buy a soda at a corner store to get change for bus fare “home.” At the shelter, having my last smokes before going in, I began to figure.

Certainly I could not buy more than one more pack of smokes — to last four days. For certain, I will wind up using the nicotine gum Pastor worked so hard to help me get last fall. I would have to give up sodas. I might have to give up coffee in the afternoons. I might have to give up coffee in the mornings — and sit outside from 6 am to 10 am with nothing to drink and no access to a bathroom. I might have to stay one night at a different shelter. I might have to walk rather than take the bus to church Sunday.

Enigmatically, when I got inside and sat down on my bunk, I felt cheerful.  The last thing in the world I want is to be on the bus stop Sunday and find myself without bus fare to church.  This minimal amount of self-management, of stewardship, of planning what sacrifices I must make, gave me a degree of power and control over my lot.

on air talent, talk show host, radio talk show, the homeless blogger