tales from the year of the rooster
Grief! Charles is going to marry that woman? Oh well, it's none of my
business. If only the media would take the same attitude. On the other
hand, it may give poor Brad Pitt a break from being on the
magazine/tabloid covers for awhile. (Not that I would prefer to see
photos of Charles Windsor rather than Brad Pitt.)
I did see Pitt's latest film, Ocean's Twelve. I best liked the
flashback sequences in about the middle of the movie, where his hair was a
"Can I sleep here, too?" asked a woman at the Dark Corner. "So long as
you don't sleep right next to me," I replied. She left. I wondered if I
had been propositioned, missed my chance to play Charles and Camilla? She
did return the next night, very late, maybe early morning, but slept as
far away from me as she could get. Still asleep when I left and I was
concerned that she might have been there when the man comes to open the
place. I'd rather not attract the attention of the proprietors, unless I
could maybe approach them and offer a hundred dollars a month to occupy
that space on their floor from, say, ten in the evening until four in the
The first newspaper delivery man is quiet, although he does wake me, but I
think the second one is not pleased with the body on the floor, makes a
lot of noise. That's okay, gets me out of there without oversleeping.
Yes, the floor. I gave up on that narrow wall.
I usually leave the sanctuary between 3:30 and four, walk over to GovSanc2
and sit reading until it's time for the bus to the mall. On Thursday,
Tanioka walked past, just waved. I assume he'd been up all night with the
In all this flurry of activity, I've fallen behind on my book reports, but
I did just finish Grisham's The Last Juror. As I told Mme de
Crécy, I think it's one of his better books but he's really not a very
good writer, despite his enormous success.
I know much more about the situation with the Black Hole from enquiries
made on my behalf. I could write a scathing tale about the place and its
management, but I'll pass on the opportunity.
After the relative peace and quiet of a weekend, the campus seems so
hectic on a Monday morning.
For the record, I suppose, I should mention about the Black Hole that the
"questionnaire" story was mistaken. What I had not received in the
mailbox I didn't ask for and don't check was an eviction notice. Although
I've never seen it mentioned publicly anywhere, evidently if one stays
there for too long a time without taking advantage of their "services",
one gets the boot.
Those services include having a "caseworker". When I first went there and
had my initial interview, I was only interested in finding a place to
sleep at a time when the police were being ferocious about park-sleeping.
I had no interest in a "caseworker" (and still don't). But then I
discovered that in order to rent one of their little lockers, I had to
have a caseworker. So I left notes at the reception asking for one. I
was told to check there for a message about an appointment. I checked and
checked, sent more messages, never got a response. Or a locker.
838 nights, I am told, I stayed at the Black Hole. That is without
question the most depressing statistic of my long life.
From an email exchange:
I think, though, it might be a good idea to budget for a room at
the YMCA once a week. [And mentioned that all I need to do is work up
the courage to do it the first time.]
A lot of homeless people do it here, sleep outside and get a hotel room
from time to time. Not the YMCA, of course, we don't have one. Cheap
hotels. But of course, here there is also the cold.
Why do you need courage for the first time ? Because it means starting a
new routine ? Because people there are unpleasant ? Because you've been in
the shelter so long you don't feel like a room any more ? Or it is too
see how curious I am :)
Always Notre Dame des Questions. I can, reluctantly, afford forty
dollars for a night at the YMCA. But I seem to have developed a phobia
for undertaking any exercise outside my normal routine. Most peculiar for
a person who has spent his life wandering the world and constantly
encountering unknown experiences. But then the whole idea of the "phobia"
concept is that they don't make sense, isn't it?
I must be looking derelict again. I'd gone to get my lunchtime beer, was
sitting at the bus stop waiting to return to campus when a man came out of
the little cafe there and handed me a plate-lunch box, complete with
plastic fork. A spinach and cheese omelette. It would be churlish to say
it wasn't very good, so I won't say it. Certainly don't want to be
Of course, for a man who sleeps on a cold tile floor and hasn't changed
clothes (except for underwear) in weeks, looking derelict isn't too
There is something strange going on with the furry family. Although
Thimble still rushes down the wall to greet me, escorts me to the usual
morning bench, none of them seem much interested in the food offering. I
assume they are finding supplies elsewhere. I reduced the breakfast from
three cans to two. They still left so much untouched that the big
spotted-neck doves flocked to eat it. Well, I am not spending money on
those wretched birds, so I'll drop down to one can, see what happens. I
wouldn't complain if I eliminate about fifty dollars expense from my
monthly budget, so long as the cats are finding food elsewhere.
The right arm and hand have almost returned to normal, just a slight
numbness at the end of the fingers. I still haven't tried writing,
A bit of synchronicity in reading John Irving's splendid The Fourth
Hand. What a strange, delightful novel. That man deserves a Nobel.
I also enjoyed Richard North Patterson's recent The Balance of
Power, although it's not in the same class as Irving, and I suspect
even Patterson himself would agree.
That woman hasn't returned to the Dark Corner and the biggest nuisance has
been a few very windy, very cool nights. And mosquitoes. I had to get
some nasty chemical protection. Of course, the main fear about
that sanctuary is arriving to find someone else in residence. There are a
few people staying at GovSanc2 each night, despite the possible
interference from the Sheriffs, and with so much competition for so few
safe sleeping places, it is surprising no one else has opted for the Dark
American media doesn't seem much interested in the aged Prince of Wales
and his aged mistress/bride-to-be. Brad Pitt got yet two more magazine
"He's the second most sexy man on earth," I said.
"Who's the first?"
I just gave my best don't ask silly questions look and got a big grin from
He came to campus on the day after Magic Third Wednesday. Pitt has let
his hair get longer but the Sleeptalker has gone even further, as long as
I've ever seen it. Doesn't do anything to make either less sexy.
He complained about how cold it has been, had seen some trousers at Ross,
a discount clothing store, which he wanted to buy, so I bought him lunch
and gave him the money for shopping. I wouldn't want to be walking
around, much less sleeping, in shorts right now.
How are you organized to sleep outside ? Have you bought a larger
backpack again, to carry some kind of warmer clothes or a tarp, the way
you used to do ?
Not yet, although I shall have to when the weather gets warmer and what I
need for the night hours is uncomfortable during the day. The Dark Corner
is sheltered from the rain, so no need for a tarp.
The Sleeptalker wanted to know exactly where the Dark Corner is, but I
wouldn't tell him. I said, "I'd never get any sleep with you beside me."
After hearing the Black Hole story, he recommended, "you need to punch
someone, get suspended and then get reinstated." Somehow I don't see that
as a viable option for me.