I wake up at the church that I’ve been sleeping at: Periodically. With some of my interactions with the homeless I think about what I heard Dr. Jim O’connell, The Director of Boston Healthcare for the Homeless for over 30 years, say in an interview. “They are living moment to moment.” I have felt myself in this predicament being homeless. I find myself in a place where I don’t know what to do next. I’m used to having everything scheduled and planned for a day, week, or month. I noticed that with my camera man and other homeless people they have a negative view of the future; of possibilities. It seems to be a survival mechanism; “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.” Dr. Jim talks about meeting people where they are at, because you can’t expect to set appointments with them and have them show up. This is absolutely true. My skill and trade is to help people improve their situation by asking them questions that cause them to investigate the thinking behind their actions. The goal is to help them see destructive patterns and want to work towards positive change. I guide people to making better decisions so they can live healthier lives, this is a lengthy process. Can I do psychological good out here, or am I spinning my wheels? I guess it doesn’t matter. I just have to get through 347 more days being homeless
5:30 a.m. I wake up and start getting my stuff ready. I hear a rustling sound and I think it’s the woman. I look over and she’s not moving. Something catches my eye down the ramp on the street. There’s a man flailing his arms around. He comes over and it seems like he’s going to come up the ramp to the church. I grabbed my defensive devices, and I woke the woman. I tell her what’s happening. The man stands in the shadows for a moment and then moves back out to the street. One of my biggest fears is somebody doing harm to me while I sleep outside. There are quite a few psychotic people in the street. They are harmless to those who are conscious, but what could they do to the sleeping?
6:00 a.m. I head over to the green line right across from St Paul’s Church on Tremont Street. My good friend JP works as a mechanic down there. I met him outside The green line entrance in the park. He invites me inside his little booth where we sit, chill, and chop it up for about an hour. He tells me all about the trains, and what they do when a train breaks down. It’s always good to see an old friend. I asked him if he wants to do a video, but he refuses cuz he’s on the clock. I haven’t spent much time in the subways, so it’s interesting to see all the people coming and going. After we hang out for a while we go outside and smoke a cigarette. Haha I know, back on the cigarettes. Thanks LA! Just kidding, my choices are my responsibility.
7:10 a.m. I go across the street to planet fitness on Winter Street. I leave my big duffle bag in a locker, and take the little detachable backpack with me. I workout for about 20 minutes. The rest of my time is spent working on the blog
9:23 a.m. I headed over to The Emmanuel breakfast and lunch on Newbury Street. I came across a man aggressively yelling in the street. I decide to approach him and see if he’ll let me film him. He does, and I find out his name is Lord Vader. He tells me a little bit about himself.
9:30 I arrive at Emmanuel Church, I see Minister Lisa, so we go down in the basement to do an interview. I see Freitas, midnight, David, and Keisha. I hadn’t seen them in a few days so it was good to know that they’re all right. It was an art workshop day at the church, and everybody was making paintings and artwork. I spent the whole time working on the blog in the media platforms. I met a man named Eric, I’ve seen him meditating before at Emmanuel church. I talked to him about his meditation practice, and he told me his mother was Buddhist and he also says that he practices chaigong in the park. Eric explains how beneficial meditation practice has been for him and his mental wellness. He’s very serene and insightful. He says he’s been homeless for over 7 years. I got his phone # and hope to interview Eric in the future. I stayed for lunch, they have sloppy joes with potato chips.
1:00 p.m. I leave Emmanuel and I decide to head out and check out different Churches or places where I might be able to sleep. I ride around for an hour and a half or so, and I get hungry again. I decided to ride over to Whole Foods on Cambridge Street to get some food to eat.
3:00 p.m. after sitting at Whole Foods for a while I decide to go back out and ride my bike around looking for possible backup places to sleep. One thing I’ve noticed about the city is that there is very little shelter. Everything is open. Any little space with an overhang or shelter that isn’t a public entrance, oftentimes has a homeless person staying there. I rode along the Charles river. I rode around some other churches in Boston. I really didn’t find anything that would supply shelter from the rain or the snow.
5:30 p.m. I went to the Paulist Center on Park place next to The Commons for the meal. I watch some of the updates on the Karen Reed case, and now turtle boy has been arrested and charged. Besides this project that’s the only other thing that I’ve been watching regularly. The doors open at 6:00 for dinner. I sit at the table with Michael and with a lesbian couple Cassie and Danielle. I’ve seen Cassie and Danielle around, Danielle is in a wheelchair and Cassie pushes her around. They are very caring and attentive to each other. I have some really interesting conversations with Cassie and Danielle and ask if they would do an interview with me. I got their number. Hopefully I can meet up with them on Thursday.
7:00 p.m. I leave the dinner at the Paulist Center and I head over to planet fitness to get my stuff. I hang out till about 8:30 p.m. and then I grab my bag out of the locker, get strapped up, and hit the street. I ride over to the church where I sleep, and there’s people in there, they’re having an event. I ride my bike around the city looking for a potential place to sleep. Periodically I’ll drive past the church I’ve been sleeping at to see if people are still there. It’s not until
10:30 that the church is vacant. I ride my bike up the ramp, unpack my bag, set up, and lay down for the night. Right before 11:00 I hear some rustling, it’s the woman she’s returned to sleep at the church as well.