Sunday, Nov. 4th
I’m laying in my sleeping bag in the dirt, using my coat as a jacket and my eyes open, wondering what the hell this sound is, and why I’m getting wet. Then I realize. I jump up and frantically look around, grab one of my gloves and stick it over one of the sprinklers that have just popped up out of the dirt. I can’t find the other glove. I’m getting soaked. Fuck it. I yank the tarp out from under my sleeping bag and pile it on top of the other sprinkler that’s getting everything wet. Then, wet sleeping bag and wet face, I lie back down and go back to sleep. That was five in the morning.
When I woke up again the sun was well in the sky. I got dressed quick as I could, pausing whenever I heard someone walking by. Climbing out of the bushes was a bit trickier because one of the sprinklers had built up a puddle in the bushes where I was getting in and out. I peeked out, waited till a jogger went past, and quickly hopped out. I walked over to Marcia’s apartment building where I was keeping my knapsack on the roof. I had that dim worry in the back of my head that someone was going to find it but I pushed it aside and sure enough my bag was fine, still hidden beneath the air-duct. I knew hardly anyone ever went up there and the bag was out of sight from the patio, and no homeless people, besides me of course, could ever get up there without knowing the pass-code. Worry for nothing. I dugout a plastic bag and threw in bread, peanut butter, water bottle and notebook. I wasn’t planning on job-hunting today. My legs were aching from foot to butt, stiff and sore from walking so much last night and I figured I’d take it easy, eat breakfast on the beach, nap, read, write, whatever I felt like. And I had to get more resumes. And sew my pants.
Other than sore legs I was feeling pretty good. I was getting good at the vagabonding. Last night had been a lot of fun, stealing pastries and old pizza and leftover soy beans. Walking down Venice Boulevard towards Abbot Kinney I kept my eye on the trashcans, and sure enough there they were: soybeans in a plastic container. It appears people in Los Angeles like to sell soybeans and nobody likes to eat them. I grabbed the container out of the trash and dropped it in my bag. I sat on a grassy knoll by the beach and made a couple of peanut butter sandwiches to eat with the soybeans I’d found. I finished up and walked over to the beach.
My pants, which were light gray and getting noticeably filthy on the thighs from the sweat of so much walking, were splitting open at the crotch. I’d sewn them up once before and out of laziness let the hole keep growing until it was all too large for decency. I laid out the small micro-fiber army towel Tony had given me and sat down to sew my pants up. It took about an hour and a half. Sitting there in short-shorts my glowing white thighs caught quite the glowing red burn. No big deal. I sewed the crotch and the hole in the front and got dressed. I was in bad need of a shower, I was getting filthy from sleeping in the dirt and I knew this would make it all the harder to find a job. A couple days before, after sleeping on the cement, I wiped myself all down with baby-wipes, the shower-in-a-napkin miracle. I had brought a bar of soap with me and I was going to shower under one of the shower heads they have outside next to the bathrooms, but I wussed out. I put my pants back on and went over to Office Max for more copies of my resumes.
Actually, I took a detour on the way to Office Max. I wanted to check out St. James in Santa Monica to see if they had showers. I saw online they had services for the homeless. What I didn’t see online was how they aren’t open Sundays. Not a big deal. 8:30 Monday morning I’ll be there. I took Rose East till it met with Lincoln. I was still keeping my eyes open for possible food and as I was walking down Lincoln I came upon a plastic bag sitting on a wall behind the bus stop. No one’s around. I open up the Styrofoam box inside the bag. Chinese food, still warm noodles and general-tsao’s. I’m real happy, now. I walk down the block in case the owner returns and I sit down and I feast for lunch, the food still warm and deliciously filling.
I don’t know how people go hungry on these streets — Pastries, pizza, whole dishes of beans and full containers of Chinese food. And I’ve been thinking that if it ever came down to it, and I’d have to be very hungry because I don’t like begging or panhandling, but as a last resort I could always stand along a block with a bunch of restaurants (of which there are plenty) with a sign that reads Please, Leftovers. I would get food in no time, and good food at that. I don’t know how people go hungry in this city. Honestly, people waste so much food in this city that it’s disgusting.
Well, okay, I guess I do know. There is an Hispanic man, tall with a flat face and simple, friendly features, black hair to his shoulders who roams around the Lincoln-Washington area with a shopping cart. He wears yoga pants. I saw him sitting on the sidewalk today with his cart today when a mini-van pulled to a stop along the curb. The driver rolled down the window offering food. The homeless man said Yeah! like a kid who beats a high-score, but he just sat there. The driver didn’t know what to do, the homeless man said Throw it, the food was in a container just that clearly throwing it would send food all over the sidewalk and the homeless man. Do you want it? Yeah! the homeless just sat there, staring blankly sitting cross-legged in yoga pants and a faded red shirt. The driver shook the food shook, the homeless man sat there, and eventually the driver pulled off.
This is why people go hungry: Because people abandon their retarded children like they do three-legged puppies.