When I see them asking for spare change, a part of me briefly gets angry. Some of them, I believe, really are homeless for a justifiable reason but it seems they’re not the ones asking for a handout. All the ones asking passersby for change are asking the wrong people, it seems; all the quiet ones have asked and been turned away by not only everyday people but agencies designed specifically to help. So why is there something inside me that clenches up every time I’m asked for spare change? Because I question the concept of “spare” anything.

I have made many mistakes in my life, and many of them are repeat offenders. In other words, I am not learning my lesson. I am paying the dividends for those mistakes even as I type this. I am short on my rent this month, is about to tip-toe through another month without paying a single bill (because I can’t), and constantly worried about how I’m going to feed myself, let alone my cat. So the idea of having anything to spare is not only impossible but both frustrating and laughable at the same time. The anger I feel when asked for spare change is partly borne out of this.

But this frustration is short-lived because once I take the second to become aware of who and where I am, I realize I am on a very thin line of becoming a similar casualty to the economic system myself, living on the streets and hoping some kind of agency can help me out. This saddens me. It motivates me but the overwhelming sense of pressure remains and eventually wins over until I find myself on the couch wondering what the hell is happening to me. I have my pity party and try to move on but the feeling lingers in the background. It’s the same feeling you get when you know you’re being watched.

I try to be kind in my reaction now to homeless people asking for spare change. I apologize, say I don’t have any, and try to keep the rising frustrations at bay. I do this now because life seems so fragile these days and tomorrow may not be as safe and secure as it feels now, which isn’t much. I would only hope if I were in their position that people would be kind to me, even if nothing more than a smile or warm gesture. I have my dreams and goals, and one day even hope to accomplish them, just as I’m sure everyone on the streets do or once did. Unfortunately I’m slowly losing my grip on them as each day unsparingly passes.

I wish I did have something to spare but, you see, I’m a lot closer to them than they may realize.

Comments

antigeekess Dec. 4, 2009 @ 5:39 p.m.

I relate to this entirely, Adam. I'm always just a paycheck or two away from the street, myself. I'm maintaining okay in my own apartment for the time being, but I don't have any savings, and I'm way too old for that to be the case.

I've had roommates about half the time I've been out here. I NEVER had them before. I moved from being a homeowner in Arizona in 2002 to renting in somebody else's house. Not the greatest, but I was sick of the AZ heat and really wanted to be in Cali.

Sounds like you might need to hit up Craigslist for a roomie situation. As much as that sucks, the good news is that it'll save you lots of money. It's also harder to be depressed with a roomie or two. You might be IRRITATED, but probably not depressed.

The other option is a second job, if you don't have one already. In that case, you won't have TIME to be depressed, and tired enough to sleep well at night. Your bank account will love you for it, as well.

That's all I got, dude. Neither's great, but whaddya gonna do? I did both of these things while in SD.

Alternately, you could work a second job just long enough to get completely OUT of this wallet-sucking, glitzy ghetto and find a job elsewhere. I'm probably bound for Texas, Arizona or Vegas, eventually. Just costs too much to be here. Check it:

http://www.ziprealty.com/buy_a_home/logged_in/search/home_detail.jsp?source=GLVAR&cKey=n458683b&listing_num=972393

http://www.ziprealty.com/buy_a_home/logged_in/search/home_detail.jsp?index=5&source=ARMLS&cKey=7k3hs3x4&page=1&listing_num=4244291&numResults=6

http://www.austintxmls.idxco.com/idx/3455/details.php?idxID=043&listingID=3384549

However, Texas's property taxes and HOA fees are ungodly. Better to rent, there.

If considering a move, one possibility is to try to get your foot in the door with a company that will allow you to transfer. That could be what I end up doing to get out of this state.

Your options are always limitless, no matter how it may seem otherwise. Pet Stella, chill, and think.

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MsGrant Dec. 4, 2009 @ 6:49 p.m.

Oh, Adam, hang in there! Your blog broke my heart. Why are so many people just barely surviving? I am listening to Bridge Over Troubled Water as I write this. Coincidence? I don't know. It just happened to be in the background, I think my husband is watching something on TV like a Simon and Garfunkle concert. I empty my wallet to ever person I know is hurting. Don't despair. Life is full of good things, too. You are a good person. Don't dwell on your mistakes. They are just missteps.

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PistolPete Dec. 4, 2009 @ 9:50 p.m.

F*** Simon & Garfunkle. What you need, Adam, is this... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLw158...

Buy a gun, rob your nearest B of A and live happily ever after. :-D

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antigeekess Dec. 5, 2009 @ 6:34 a.m.

Re #4: The sound's a lot better on this copy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6K_CIuOF6o&feature=related

Based on the titles, I think a lot of YouTubers don't know the difference between the U.K. and the U.S.A., BTW. Whaddya wanna bet they couldn't tell the difference on a map, either?

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MsGrant Dec. 5, 2009 @ 9:54 a.m.

I prefer the Megadeth version as well, but nobody trumps the Pistols.

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MsGrant Dec. 5, 2009 @ 10:13 a.m.

Call Star Magazine and tell them you slept with Tiger Woods. That will net you a few bucks. My husband is considering it.

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SDaniels Dec. 5, 2009 @ 10:22 a.m.

re: #4, 5, 6: I'm not sure a couple of you guys read Adam's blog. How is "Anarchy in the USA/UK supposed to cheer him up? :(

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PistolPete Dec. 5, 2009 @ 12:16 p.m.

Depressed people are depressed because something is lacking in thier lives. In Adam's case, it's $$$. Create a little anarchy, get some money, live happily ever after. :-D No need to thank me.

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magicsfive Dec. 5, 2009 @ 12:58 p.m.

adam, hang in there hun. easy for me to say, i know. but having been on both ends of the spectrum, i can totally relate to what you're saying. i really wish you well, my friend.

========================

7: true that, MsG :)

8: LMMFAO!!!!

9: you're right...i hadn't yet read the blog. i just clicked on the link and put in my 2 cents. no disregard for adam or his situation, because like i said, i have been there. anyway, you know how comments usually end up straying from the subject at hand. megadeth always cheers me up :)

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FullFlavorPike Dec. 5, 2009 @ 6 p.m.

Adam's the man, he'll pull through like a champ!

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DaniLauder Dec. 5, 2009 @ 6:44 p.m.

With the economy so bad now and since I barely get by I can only wonder how hard it must be for them.

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Adam92102 Dec. 5, 2009 @ 9:40 p.m.

Thanks, All, for the positive vibes (and the email, CF... I'll reply shortly).

As for Megadeth, I prefer the Sex Pistol version of Anarchy in the UK but as far as the style Megadeth finds themselves in, yes, I do thrash when I need it. Suicidal Tendencies or the first few albums Metallica put out usually do the trick.

I've thought about the whole anarchy bit and how that could be pretty easy to pull off but finding a cabin in the woods and stockpiling ammo probably isn't the best option (though it does sound really damn tempting). I've rebelled against the system for many years and it only brings me pain and suffering. Then again, I've also given in to the system and look where that got me. Hell, I don't know which way is which anymore.

The bank thing, yeah. If I was D.B. Cooper, I'd be all over it. Besides, knowing my luck I'd attempt to rob a bank on a Sunday. I'll let you figure out on your own why that would be a bad idea.

I believe in all my years on my own this might be the closest to homeless I've been. It's downright frightening. Dani, I'm in complete agreement that being homeless must feel like a hole that's keeps getting deeper and deeper. That is why I'm doing all I can to figure out a way out of the hole I'm in.

Again, thanks for the positive vibes, Everyone.

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SDaniels Dec. 6, 2009 @ 5:27 a.m.

Adam, if you were after advice, I would just completely echo AG’s practical ideas in #1, so will only add a couple of thoughts about homelessness, since your fears are taking this shape.

You talk of mistakes that you keep repeating, and this seems to be connected to the idea of becoming homeless. It sounds as though you are being too hard on yourself, whatever the situation may be. Whatever mistakes you’ve made or tend to make, you seem fully aware of the consequences of your actions, and of their potential effect on others. We all have to repeat life lessons, some over and over and over, as you remark. It’s been said in many ways that we need to acknowledge this as reality or necessity, and try to repeat them a little differently each time. I don’t think this is just funny or ironic; making mistakes differently each time can help us to learn something new, too.

Your type of earnest self-awareness, self-questioning, and generous capacity for empathy is not at all typical of folk who end up and stay on the street. Lately, I have been in ongoing contact with a couple of homeless folk, and have talked to quite a few in my time. I began to do so with the chicken-and-egg question of whether these people landed where they are because of drugs, drink, and mental illness, or if these things happened as a way of coping with homelessness. I don’t know if I’m much closer to understanding the answer, as there doesn’t seem to be a definitive one, but I’ll share with you a little of what I’ve observed. As we know, many homeless drink heavily; though some try to keep it somewhat under control, at some point they cannot drink even small amounts without getting immensely drunk (livers shot). Many suffer from serious attendant health issues, but are generally apathetic about treating them; I know a homeless woman who does pursue filling and taking needed medicine regularly for chronic conditions (not all due to drink) but she often takes it incorrectly.

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SDaniels Dec. 6, 2009 @ 5:27 a.m.

(cont.)

There is a slight to pronounced childlike affect in many homeless men I’ve met or just observed. To describe it, I think of this “Peter Pan syndrome,” I read about long ago in some self-help or relationship book. This is characterized by a generalized rebellious attitude towards the world and society’s rules, and a refusal to grow up and take responsibility for one’s place in all of it. Many homeless have fallen prey to the kind of self-pity from which few recover, and ends up hating those who help them as a self-defense—if they demonizes them, and say the world is full of a-holes, then as perpetual victims, they have no responsibility toward the world or anyone, and don’t have to deal with the pain they have caused others. In fact, the world owes them a living, in order to make up for what uncaring a-holes live in it. It also provides the excuse to drink or drug more, and do nothing to help themselves get off the street. I’m sure there is a little Peter Pan in all of us, but most of us still manage to keep ourselves housed, clothed, and fed.

Adam, again, I see nothing of imminent homeless for you in your writing—or Stella’s ;) I do see an extraordinary sensitivity toward the pain of others, however; Stella’s blog about the legend of “Toes” says it all. AG’s suggestions in #1 are probably just repeating what you already know to do, and I wish you the strongest frame of mind with which to do it. You will pull through for you and your sweet cat. xoxoxo SD ;)

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SDaniels Dec. 6, 2009 @ 5:36 a.m.

...and on a lighter note:

Of grand theft as a potential career change, Adam confessed:

"Besides, knowing my luck I'd attempt to rob a bank on a Sunday."

Hey, if this guy can do it, you can too!

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