7:30 a.m. I woke up. I took my vitamin C and Caffeine. I put the tick I took off my Buttox in a plastic bag. I googled Lyme disease and feel confident that I wasn’t infected since I found the tick so early. I plan on checking for more ticks later.
8:15 a.m. I hiked out of the woods and drove to the library in Salem. I walk from the library to the Lifebridge shelter for breakfast. When I arrived at Lifebridge there’s a few people outside. When I walk in the door one of the shelter workers tells me there is no breakfast this morning. I go back outside and I’m thinking, suddenly I feel a tap on my shoulder. When I turn around I see a familiar face. It’s a man named Chris that used to come to the Prison to Prosperity men’s group, the Ex-incarcerated men’s group I started a few years ago. This man spent 30 years in prison for murder in Florida and was released to his mother’s home in Lynn. He told me his elderly mother recently kicked him out of the house, so now he’s homeless. He is living in a tent by Wendy’s waiting for housing services and social security. He also has found companionship with a homeless woman who was with him. She says her husband is in prison but will be released soon. I feel sad for my friend who had stability in his mother’s home, now having to learn how to survive in the street.
9:30 a.m. My friend and his partner leave to panhandle and go back to the tent city. I say goodbye and stop at Steve’s market for food. I buy a beef rib, and sausage, egg, and cheese on an English muffin sandwich. I sit at the flag memorial in the center of Salem to eat. When I finish the beef bone I give it to a hungry Seagull, my homeless bird brethren.
10:00 a.m. I walk back to the library to use the wifi and work on uploading stuff. I continue to look into the anti-inflammatory properties of psychedelics and see what companies might develop these types of life saving drugs.
12:45 p.m. Since Lifebridge is closed I decide to walk back to Steve’s Market and get some food. I bought a spinach pastry and some Mac and Cheese. I walk over to the flag memorial to sit and eat. This is a popular homeless hang out, and I see Chris again. I also met some other homeless people. I meet Mike and we end up having a conversation while I eat.
1:15 p.m. Mike and I continue to walk and talk. I’m going in the same direction as him. Mike mentions that he wants to meet up with his friend Matt and sing while Matt plays the guitar in the street. This is called busking, a way for people to make money in the street by playing music. I asked Mike if I could join him and take a video of them performing, Mike said, “sure, come on.”We walk over to the stonewalk in the middle of Salem with shops on either side. First we see a man named Mike who I met before, who has an old husky dog named Bear. He’s sitting on a blanket stemming for money. We stopped and chatted for a little while. We travel on, and then stop to talk to another homeless man named Cryin Mike. Cryin Mike says that he’s asking for money so he can buy some cigarettes. I tell Cryin Mike, “here I actually have a bag of tobacco,” and I give him my bag of bugler which I haven’t been smoking since I’ve been vaping. Cryin Mike is so grateful he begins to cry. I give him a hug. I tell him, “yeah, don’t worry about it.” I really feel good about giving Mike the tobacco. It seems that Mike cries over the smallest things. While Mike, Mike, and myself are talking, Mike, who owns the dog bear, comes over with another man to avoid confusion I will call him Jim. It seems that Jim likes to buy meals for homeless people, and Jim says that the homeless man he had been buying a slice of pizza for had stolen his wallet. This becomes a big commotion, the Mikes are very upset about this. Especially since this man likes to help homeless people. The police are called and eventually they come riding down the middle of the brick walkway. Jim makes his report to the officer. After the police leave, and Jim leaves, I ask if Jim is gay. Mike tells me that Jim is gay, and that he likes to buy meals for homeless men and then invite them back to his place.
2:00 p.m. I walk with Mike, the Mike I had originally started this journey with, to see his friend Matt who is playing a guitar and singing a little ways down. Matt is a gregarious fellow, he’s also a talented musician. I’m able to record a couple songs that Matt plays. I also have a run in with the devil of Salem and get a quick video. Mike ends up getting a call from Jim, and Jim gives him 40 bucks for helping him try to get his wallet back. Mike uses the money to get some alcohol and cigarettes which are shared with Matt. At one point Mike says, I wish I had never given Jim my number, now he’s trying to invite me back to his apartment. I hang out with these guys a little bit longer, I learn of some new interesting characters in the world of street life. I learned of a man named Turtle who lives in Westford Mass, who allows traveling homeless people to stay at his house. I got Turtle’s information. Matt tells me about a woman who has been traveling around the country homeless, who he built a strong bond with and was singing with him in the street. Sadly she must always travel on, and left him not long ago. A lot of these conversations are filled with so much substance and intrigue, I wish I could just film everything.
3:20 p.m. I walk over to the Tent city next to Wendy’s. I see Chris. He’s clearing out a tent and he’s making space for himself, and his partner. He seems to be doing all right. I let him know I will check on him periodically. I also see Ashley who’s decked out in a onesie. She seems to be doing fine. I say my goodbyes and start walking towards the library.
3:45 p.m. I arrive at the library where my car is parked. I made plans with the beautiful lady of the forest. She said she wanted to stay in the camp again. I told her it was cold. Regardless, she wanted to venture out there with me again, so I drove over to a friend’s house nearby, showered, and changed some of my stinky clothes. When I go to take a shower, I see that there is another tick embedded in my stomach. This one has caused an infection. I don’t have tweezers so I have to pull it out with my hands. The area of the bite looks like it could be infected with Lyme disease. This is a big problem, and I’m going to have to consult with my physician.
7:15 p.m. I have my lady friend park her car near my friend’s house. She was wise and she only brought one backpack, and her purse this time. I packed a hiking pack with my tent propane heater, a bottle of propane, And I stuffed my little backpack in there as well. The weather said it would be about 22° tonight, which is fine for me, but for her I wanted to have extra heat. We take my truck over to the vicinity of my camp. We trekked the rest of the way through the woods. We both get set up in the tent, and get comfortable.
9:30 p.m. I have the tent warmer blasting heat. My tent date and myself snuggled in for a warm night.