Lunch was a greasy-spoon burger all-the-way down at Merl's Diner -- money I shouldn't have spent being almost broke after paying a hefty bill this morning. An empty wallet greeting me after paying for my meal. Ferret accompanied me -- my now un-homeless friend having gathered himself, shaved, taken a shower, and wearing clean clothes. His new living arrangement is humble, but seems to suit him well. His spirits shining brightly with a renewed vigor. Anything is better than that leaky tent in the woods by the river for him.
"I've got to get a job," Ferret told me as we sat eating -- surprising me as Ferret has been so anti-establishment and anti-work lately. "I thought about getting a job at the grocery store in the shopping center bagging groceries."
I agreed it would be a good and simple job for Ferret -- a job he could easily walk to and handle. He would have to curb back his drinking, though, I told him. A twelve pack of 'light' beer every night instead of a 24 pack of 'stout' Budweiser, or that terrible alcoholic swill Ferret so likes such as Steel Reserve or the ice beers. Possibly even just a six-pack.
"Having a safe place to stay picked up my spirits," he told me as he ate his fries with ample ketchup. "It gives me hope that things are going to get better for me. They couldn't get any worse. I tried to tell myself I liked living that way, but it was just my way of coping."
Sometimes, that is all it takes for things to start looking up. A helping hand out of a quagmire of a situation. Homelessness can be a hopeless feeling predicament. Thank God for lucky breaks -- breaks that can make all the difference in a life. Lucky breaks I've read about countless times on the blogs of other homeless people that brought them out of living without a home.
Ferret left me to walk to his mother's house to get his birth certificate with the hopes of obtaining a new state ID for getting a job. I walked back up to the shopping center to sit with Clara and Big S for a while until George showed up. I was so glad to see George and we went for a long drive out into the countryside as we drank beer and talked. George was in fine spirits and regaled me in tales of last night's poker game over at Pookie's house.
"I love her to death," George told me of his girlfriend, Pookie. "But she will get high on that crack and steal everything I own. I don't know what to do with her at times."
George's dysfunctional relationship with his girlfriend amuses me in an understanding way. He never gives up on her. Pookie will do dastardly things to George, but he rarely complains about it. Loving her all the same. Pookie will come down from her crack house high, so sorry, and apologizing profusely to George for him to forgive her. George always does. Each storm is weathered and forgotten only for history to repeat itself.
Near my home there is house in a dilapidated and poor neighborhood where great groups of people go to hang out on the front porch everyday despite the heat -- throngs of cars lining the road. I drive by there often on my way to my parent's house and long to join them, feeling lonely. George was talking about going on a previous day and what he did, accompanied by a friend of the owner of the house.
"We just sat and talked for hours. Shooting the shit and drinking beer," he told me. "It is good to have friends, ya know? People to hang out with. Good folks."
I agreed. It is good to have friends and I urged George to bring me along the next time he went. It is strange how despite my social anxieties I feel so at ease with blue collar, working class people. People of simple means and simple pleasures. My mother is the same -- her best friend being the polar opposite of her own sheltered life, being dirt poor and having a lay-about alcoholic husband who won't work. My mother loves Sandra and feels so at ease around her. They go out to eat every Tuesday night. It reminds me of my own relationship with George and the gang.
Having not really slept for twenty-four hours, I feel a nap coming on. The sleepy embrace of my bed is calling me. I have also read over everything I wrote this past day and it seems I am on a manic high -- the words coming so freely and fast I almost can't get them all down with this computer keyboard. I am worried I wrote too much -- shared too much. I rarely see other people express such emotion and thoughts as I do on my blog and that makes me think I am obviously doing something wrong. People live such guarded lives with guarded feelings and emotion. Afraid that to show them would express weakness and weakness is picked upon and taken advantage of by unscrupulous people. People are obviously being guarded for a reason -- a reason that escapes me. I try to reassure myself that I am anonymous for the most part -- the only clue to my identity being a three year old picture of me on this blog. It is still unsettling anyway.