6:30 a.m. I roll out of the tent, Go through my morning rituals, like drink orange juice, pack up camp, and I head over to the gym to lock myself up. 7:30 a.m. I rode my bike over to St John’s for breakfast, as usual there’s a lot of people eating and getting ready for their day. At the breakfast, the workers do a prayer for the people, and they praise Jesus Christ. The bulk of the service for the homeless in Worcester are Christian based. The shelter services are run by SMOC. It seems that both SMOC and spectrum provide addiction-based services and mental health services as well. When I go outside to smoke a cigarette, I drum up a conversation with Old-school and Jess. I asked them flat out if they will do an interview with me and they agreed. Jess calls Old-school hubby, an affectionate moniker signifying their tight relationship. Before I forget, watching many homeless people I’ve noticed it’s not uncommon for homeless people to pick up cigarette butts off the ground and smoke them. Here’s a picture of a cool pigeon I saw.
9:30 a.m. My new crew and I walked over to the library. I ask the librarian if we could sign out one of one of the private rooms. The librarian asked for my name and email and she gave us room number 2. I set up my recording equipment and do an interview with old school and Jess. They both share some of their experiences being Homeless in Worcester, it seems that the homeless are confronted by local government, and forced to move, or have their tents removed. The option they are given is to go to the shelter on Queen Street. During the interview I learn about some of old school and Jess’s adventures living in the woods. In one story they get hit by lightning. Old school, Jess, and Jamie are three people that have formed a survival relationship, along with close personal and romantic bonds. After the interview I hang around the library with my new friends and charge my phones for a bit. This is an article where Old-school and his companions talk with another reporter. And below that is my interview.
12:30 p.m. My devices are all charged, and I’m interested in looking into a better Sub-Zero sleeping bag. I decided to ride my bike over to Walmart which is about a 16 minute bike ride. I say goodbye to my new friends and let them know that I’ll meet up with them later. On the bike ride to Walmart I go down a bike path and I see a lot of encampments there. It is a new area to me, so I learn that the homeless are spread out all over the city of Worcester.
1:00 p.m. When I arrive at Walmart, they don’t have the Sub-Zero sleeping bags I’m looking for. They do have a blow up camping pillow. It’s super small and compact so I bought it. I also buy some cheese wrapped in salami things, because I’m hungry. There’s a bus station right next to Walmart and I see people congregated there while I’m eating my salami cheese sticks outside. I thought to myself, does that bus go to downtown Worcester? A bus arrives, and two women who are near me begin to run up to it. So I followed suit on my bicycle. I asked the bus driver if the bus goes downtown, and he said yes. The Bus driver’s English isn’t that good. There is a bike rack on the front of the bus. The bus driver motions to me to show me how to use the bike rack. You pull a pin, the bike rack goes down, you pull a safety lever over the wheel once the bike is secure in the rack. When I get on the bus I go to pay the bus driver, he shakes his head and says no. A woman on the bus tells me that the buses are free, and that they will be free for another year.
2:30 p.m. I arrived at the hub in Worcester. The bus system in Worcester is really good. Buses travel from the hub in downtown Worcester all over the place. It’s about a 2 minute ride on my bike to the library, so I go there to hang out and charge my phones for a little bit, until I go to the mustard seed dinner. Old school, Jess, and Jamie are at the library. I hang out with my new crew, and Jess and Jamie tell me about some of the struggles of being transgender and living in the street.
3:30 p.m. Old school, Jess, and Jamie head out to go to Mustard Seed dinner. They plan on taking a bus. I tell them that I’ll just ride my bike over, it’s a short ride. 4:15 p.m. I decided to head over to mustard seed dinner and get myself a seat. It’s cold outside so mustard seed is packed. I’m able to grab a seat with my new crew. They serve chicken broccoli and rice for dinner, and they have bananas, little tangerines, and cake. A couple sits next to me at the table, they seem to struggle with addiction issues. When they bring out the trays I tell the server to give them the tray first. They ate their food fast and put their trays in the middle of the table. When a new server comes back with more trays they take those trays too. I find it interesting that when I was considerate, which this couple acknowledged, that when more trays came to the table, instead of letting other people at the table get the new trays, this couple took the trays for themselves after they both just ate one. Eventually my crew and I are served. While we’re eating, my new crew invites me to stay at their camp. So we work out the logistics of that. The plan is after dinner the crew will hang out at the library till the last bus comes at 8:00 p.m., and I will go to the gym to get my stuff, and meet back up with them at the library.
6:00 p.m. I ride my bike over to the gym and I pick up my bag that is locked up there with all my camping gear. And then I head right back to the library. I arrived back at the library at 7:00 p.m. My new crew and I leave the library right before 8:00 p.m. and jump on a bus headed towards their campsite. We get off, I have my 70 lb bag on my back, and we proceed to hike up a large hill to the place where I will be sleeping for the night. There’s a path off the road that leads to a wooded spot where there’s a giant tent surrounded by all the leavings of human occupation.
8:45 p.m. old school gives me a spot to setup camp. It’s right behind the big tent my crew lives in. A voice from the tent says, “Do you want some pasta?” I say yes. When I go in the big tent it’s messy with a propane stove, 3 sleeping areas, a fireplace on a metal trash can lid on rocks, and 3 sleeping spots. I sit down and proceed to do an interview with my new friends, Old-school being the focal point. I get so caught up in the interview that I don’t eat. After the interview my new friends asked if I wanted to hang out in the tent for a while. I’m tired, I just want to go to bed, so I declined and retreated to my little tent.
10:00 p.m. I’m in my little tent listening to the conversation coming from the big tent. Jamie says, hey Old-school you want a butt plug? Jess suggests that she’ll put the butt plug on a rocking chair for the old man. Jess takes it up a notch and suggests a dildo on a rocking chair. I hear Jess and Jamie wrestling, Jamie says Uncle! Jess yells the safe word banana. Now Jamie is yelling the safe word melon. There’s giggling, and Jess is saying fuck you. Jaime calls Jess a bitch. The safe word banana is said again. I hear tussling. Jaime mentions extra meat. I hear Jess say let go of my arm. Old-school says be careful of that wall. I hear Jaime say, oh now the pants and shirt are coming off. Jess threatens to cuddle with old school for the night if Jamie doesn’t cut the shit, now Jess is yelling at Jamie for stealing her pillow. The playful fighting dies down. I fall into a deep sleep.
2:00 a.m. There’s yelling coming from the big tent. It is an alleged raccoon attack. Somehow a raccoon got into the big tent. It’s got Old-school’s jacket. Old-school says let go of my Jacket! Someone farts. Jess opens the tent and chases the racoon around. I can’t see if there’s a raccoon so I assume one is there.