7:00 a.m. I woke up in the tent. It’s a rainy day. I do a video. I stayed in the tent until 11:30 scrolling around on social media. I also do a video.
11:30 a.m. I hike out of the rainy forest to get lunch at the Lifebridge shelter. After I eat lunch I stop at Michael’s camp and I deliver an air mattress to him that was donated to us through the nonprofit I run Tiffany’s Recovery Inc. Michael is not there so I just put the air mattress in his tent. I see the new tent that the transgender Kayla set up at Michaels camp. I’m not too sure what Kayla’s original gender was. To me Kayla seems to biologically be a male.
1:30 p.m. I drive my truck back over to Steve’s market and park there near downtown Salem. I walk over to the Tent City next to Wendy’s. I have another air mattress to give to my friend who lives in a tent at The Tent City. I respect this homeless friend because he puts effort into improving his condition, like not using drugs or drinking alcohol. I had been checking on this friend for a while and he texted me not too long ago asking me not to come check on him, saying he didn’t need my help. He expressed that he is extremely depressed and unhappy with his circumstances. Regardless, I want to continue supporting him because I feel he has good potential to improve his life. Ultimately his depression is mainly circumstantial.
2:00 p.m. when I approach my friend’s tent, I see that the lock is not on the zipper. This means that he’s inside the tent. I call into the tent and he responds sleepily. I let him know that I have an air mattress for him. We engage in conversation and he apologizes for trying to dismiss me in our last text messages. We had discussed before about his boots which are in bad condition and get really wet in the snow and rain. I told my friend that I would be willing to buy him a pair of boots.
2:30 p.m. My friend, his husky dog, and myself begin to walk to a boot store I found on Google in Salem. The place is called “die with your boots on” . It seems like a cool military boot store type place to me. At least the name suggests as much. As Nick and I are walking towards the witch city mall, an old Spanish man in a motorized wheelchair pulls up to us and asks for directions. He doesn’t speak good English. And he has a paper with directions on them in English which he cannot interpret. He does say that he wants to go to the Eastern Bank. I looked up Eastern Bank on my phone, and I asked the man in the wheelchair to follow us. I was surprised to see that this old skinny man only had a t-shirt on. It was pretty cold out. His motorized wheelchair goes pretty fast so I have to ask him to slow down a couple times. I use what little Spanish I know to try to communicate with this man. It’s a short walk to the Eastern Bank, and the man in the wheelchair is happy that we were able to help him get there. My homeless friend told me that the man in the wheelchair was probably going to buy crack, because he has seen him rolling up and down Tent City where some of the people that live in tents use and sell drugs.
3:00 p.m. My friend, his dog, and myself travel on to find the boot store. When we arrive at the store we are surprised to see that it’s a golf store with only goth gear and goth boots, there’s a few Clerk’s in the store dressed in goth. Ask one of the store employees if they have any functional boots? The store employee replies that they don’t. My friend says, just my luck. When we walk out of the store I see the man in the wheelchair coming down an alleyway. The Man in the wheelchair signals for me to come over to him, and hands me 10 bucks. I thank the man in the wheelchair, and when he rides off I give the 10 bucks to my homeless friend with the dog. And then I remind him of the negative things that he had said about the man in the wheelchair. At this moment a woman pulls over in a car and gives my homeless friend a backpack full of supplies for his dog. This woman says that she has seen him around town, and saw that he might be in need of help on a Reddit chat. What’s interesting is in this small span of time my homeless friend has received benefit from a few people and help that he could use. My homeless friend was also stressing out about an infection in his dog’s eye. The woman that gave him the supplies had worked as a veterinarian tech, and she was able to give some advice. 3:30 p.m. as my friend and I walk back to his tent. My friend tells me about REI sports that they have a 1-year return policy for gear. I find this interesting because they sell a lot of outdoor gear that I like. I tell him that I’ll buy some boots for him over there and he sends me a picture of the boots that he wants for just under a hundred bucks.
4:00 p.m. I had been texting with my friend that offered me the job as homeless outreach coordinator. I jumped in my car and I began to drive to my new job’s location. I stopped on the way to check out a few spots that I found on maps that would be good places for me to set up a camp so I’d be closer to my work. Since I will continue living outside until October 1st 2024. The first one I scouted I did not like the trees were big. A lot of them were poorly rooted and I could see that they’d fallen down. I do not want to be killed by a falling branch or tree in the night. So I scrapped that location. I took a drive over to another possible camp location, and when I hiked out in the woods a little ways I loved the spot and it was secluded and hidden enough where I could live peacefully in a tent.
5:15 p.m. I drive over to the shelter where my friend works. I sit in an office and I fill out the application. While I’m filling out the application the fire alarm goes off. Everybody has to go outside and the fire department comes to shut it off. I stay at the shelter for dinner, and I also help serve dinner. I really enjoy this work, and I am happy for this opportunity. I am also grateful for an opportunity to engage in work that falls in line with my current homeless project.
7:00 p.m. I’ve been texting with my girl friend. She had gotten RSV from her son and now I’m sick. I told her that I would spend the night with her. Although I was exposed to the RSV virus when I was with her a couple nights before I had not shown any signs of sickness then. I drove over to her place and I kept her company and took care of her for the night.