Breaking Down Camp & Thoughts
When I wake up, I get happy at the little things I have, like my weapons, my lighters, and then I feel grateful for the bigger things like my tent and my sleeping bag. The human pension for acquisition is directly relatable to our need for survival and overcoming obstacles in nature. The extent of human creation that is seen in this world, is simply an extension of our craving for survival.
8:00 a.m. I pack up my camp and head over to planet fitness to lock up the big bag with my camping gear in it. From there I meet Jay Pearl Street Cafe for breakfast. Jay says he has a meeting with Smoc after breakfast to get social assistance. Jay and I plan to meet each other at lunch.
Picture at Pearl Street
9:30 a.m. I go over to the recovery center and they’re open. I have a great talk with the staff there about homelessness and addiction. The center is beautiful. The Anchored in Recovery recovery center is a great resource for the community.
10:30 a.m. I head over to the library for about an hour and hang out there charging my phones and finishing the blog before lunch.
11:30 a.m. I head over to Pearl Street Cafe for lunch. Jay never shows up. I hope he was able to get the help you needed through Smoc. We have a turkey sandwich, protein bar, and some cheese curls for lunch. The turkey sandwich is a little dry so I put the applesauce on the sandwich. After I eat, I talk with Vicky briefly, and Vicky recommends I check out a couple resources, The living room, and project rise in framingham. I’m interested in resources, but it’s also a recon mission for Vicky. Vicky is a sharp Cookie.
12:15 p.m. I ride my bike over to the living room. It’s a house you enter through the front, there’s a doorbell you press. A woman answers the door. I ask her what kind of resource this is, “is it a day center?” The woman explains that it’s a crisis center or mental health check-in. You can do your laundry, they have a bathroom, a small kitchenette, and they have lounge areas like a living room and dining room. There’s nice couches where you can sit. It’s a pretty laid-back atmosphere. The woman tells me that she’s open from 9:00 p.m. till 9:00 p.m. at night. The woman and I discussed some of the issues of homelessness. I asked if she’s trained in trauma care. She says that she is trauma-informed. While we’re chatting a young guy walks through the door. All three of us end up having a conversation. I asked if I can roll a cigarette, and I’m told that we’re not allowed to do that in the house, and if you smoke you have to smoke a little ways away from the property. The guy that came in takes me down the street to have a cigarette, I bum a cigarette off of him. He explains a little bit of his situation to me. As always I listen.
1:00 p.m. I leave the living room, and I head over to project rise. Project rise is a harm reduction program that provides narcan, needles, and other items for safe sex. Project rise is small, just a couple rooms. I speak with the staff there and they give me six bags of narcan. One of the staff members tells me while having a conversation about safe injection site, that there is a program in Canada that prescribes people with pharmaceutical grade opiates including heroin. I find this fascinating. Canada also has a lot of safe injection sites.
1:30 p.m. I hang around the Project Rise building to smoke a cigarette and watch people come and go. It seems they’re going to get services from project rise. Since I didn’t meet up with Jay, I have some time to kill. It’s a beautiful day so I ride my bike around a bit, and then I go to the library to charge my phones, work on Media, and the blog.
3:30 p.m. I’m starting to get hungry, so I leave the library and walk with my bike to see what type of food places are in the area. I stop at a pizza place and I get a chicken quesadilla.
4:30 p.m. I arrived at Pearl Street Cafe. I’m early. I’m sitting on milk crates with my back against a fence, and a man approaches me. This man has a rough look, as if he has been staying outside for quite some time. He’s wearing flip-flops and his ankles and his feet are swollen, there’s cracked skin, gashes more like. He’s a large man with a beard and missing teeth. He has a big military backpack, and he is unclean. He has an imposing presence. He asks for a cigarette so I roll a cigarette for him. We end up having a conversation. I tell him I’m an anti-establishmentarian. He asked probing questions as to why I would do that and what’s wrong with the establishment. I dance around these inquiries as if to say that not all establishments are bad but some of them could use a little work. This man is very critical of the things I say, so I become a little bit more sarcastic. I told him about my project. I Explain a little bit about the documentation side, and also the resource sharing side. He tells me I’m like the type of person that steals someone’s wallet and then helps them look for it. I laugh at this, and I say well if that’s the case then I’m a complete s*** bag. And he says well you know I wasn’t exactly saying that. I said well it sounds as if you are, and I say I don’t care, because I’ve been called worse. We have a good laugh about this. I can sense this individual has a sadistic side to them. This guy is very pessimistic. He asked about some of the resources I found in Framingham. When I mentioned Project Rise he called it a toy store for junkies, and he made it quite clear that he did not like junkies and the fact that Framingham has a good share of people that he considers junkies. While talking to this man I continuously look at my weapons pocket in my jacket. I can tell that this individual is not far from doing physical harm to other human beings. He asked for another cigarette so I rolled him another. Eventually he moves closer to the door. The Pearl Street Cafe dinner opens at 5:30. There’s a few of us waiting, more people show up, we wait around outside for the dining room to open. I keep this new and dangerous friend of mine in the corner of my eye.
5:30 p.m. Everyone’s gone down to eat dinner. Even the man I just gave two cigarettes to. I head down and I sit at my usual table where Vicky sits. I see the homeless man I was talking to outside come down and grab a takeout dinner. Tonight is meatloaf at the Pearl Street diner. This is a very popular meal. As I’m sitting waiting for my dinner, I see the man that I gave cigarettes to come and sit down in the dining room. He asked for a meal. Vicky tells him that he already got a take out meal, and if he wants another he’ll have to wait till 7:00 p.m. The man begins to loudly comment that other people are coming in and getting two meals. Vicky explains that these are people that have friends and family members at home and they bring the meals to them. The man begins to get angry. Vicky calls her boss about the unruly patron, after the call Vicki confirms that the man has to wait until 7:00 to get another meal after everyone’s been served. The man begins to argue with Vicky. Vicky says, “if you want to continue being difficult I’ll just call the police.” The man encourages Vicky to call the police, and that’s what she does.
6:30 p.m. The police show up and they escort the man out. On his way out the man yells that he will file a complaint about harassment. After a few minutes the police officer comes back in with some paperwork and a no trespassing order has been served to this homeless man for being argumentative and potentially combative at the Pearl Street Cafe. There’s other people sitting at my table. Nobody puts much attention into the matter of the man being walked out by the police. There’s a few older men, and a woman who it seems has had a very difficult life. My heart really goes out for her, they joke and laugh and they really care for each other. It dawns on me what a valuable resource Pearl Street Cafe is, Vicky is invaluable to these people. Not only are they fed but they’re given love. Vicky sits down next to me. I quietly explained that the homeless man she had removed was probably one of the creepiest and seemingly most dangerous homeless people I had come across. Vicky said that he had been causing trouble earlier in the day as well. I asked Vicky if she had any pepper spray. She said that she had been wanting to get some. I tell Vicky that tomorrow I’ll go to the army Navy store in Natick and get her some. I told Vicky about the resources she had encouraged me to check out. I also give Vicky two bags of narcan, which is 4 narcans total. Vicky had told me the day before about a time she had found a man overdosed and had used mouth to mouth resuscitation to keep oxygen in the man’s lungs until the ambulance came. An old friend is coming to see me so I tell Vicky that I’m leaving, and make sure that she has someone to walk her out later that night when she leaves. She tells me that her friend Mike will walk her out.
7:00 p.m. My friend Rueben who lives in Framingham meets me across the street from Pearl Street Cafe. He parked his car, it’s been a while since I’ve seen him. We start walking and talking. Both of us were Recovery Coaches at Aware Recovery Care. Rueben just got a new job which he loves, and he starts telling me about it. It’s out of the realm of addiction treatment, which is something he was interested in to broaden his horizons and improve his scope as a professional. Rueben shows me some of the more dangerous neighborhoods in the area. I explained to Rueben how it’s not even close to some of the places I’ve seen in Boston. Rueben takes me to this really cool resilient barbecue restaurant. I just get a drink because I’ve already eaten so much. It’s cool to hang out with an old friend and discuss good times. Ruben shares some of the Brazilian food with me although I don’t eat much, the food is really good. We ended up eating outside because the restaurant was so hot. After we eat and talk we walk back to Rueben’s car where we hang out and have a cigarette. While we’re talking a couple of women, who seem to be involved in drug use, ask us for a cigarette. The woman tells Rueben that he’s really cute, and asks if he has a girlfriend. Rueben says yeah I got a girlfriend, and he gives the woman a cigarette and they go on their way. Ruben and I say goodbye and I head back to get my pack from planet fitness and go to my camping site.
9:20 p.m. I set up my camp and get ready for sleep for the night. I also get the best shot of a beaver I’ve gotten since I’ve been there. It’s dark and you can’t see much but here it is.