1306

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 little longer.

"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 morning.

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 pipe.

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.

1307

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 expensive ?

see how curious I am :)

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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?

1308

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 churlish.

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 difficult.

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, though.

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 Corner.

1309

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 covers.

"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 the Sleeptalker.

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.

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the tales