6:00 a.m. I woke up it’s a warm morning. The plan is to get ready and meet a friend of a friend at St. Johns Homeless breakfast, who is a homeless services worker in Worcester. When I look at my phone I see that she had to go into work and will not be able to make it. I plan to go to St John’s for breakfast anyways. I pack all my gear and I head over to the gym to lock my stuff up for the day.
I get to St John’s a little bit before 7:30. It’s the busiest place I’ve been as far as homeless meals go in Worcester. St John’s serves all kinds of food, and they give food to people too like pantry food. I sit down at a table and I eat a bagel, egg, sausage, and cheese
sandwich. I observe people. Worcester has a large population of homeless people, and a lot of people that live outside.
After breakfast at St John’s I hang out outside to smoke a cigarette. An older shorter man walks up to me and talks to me. I asked him if he’s homeless in Worcester he says he lives in a tent on the rotary. I asked him how long he’s been homeless. He says about 5 months since she was released from prison for arson. The man tells me his name is Artie. I tell him that I am documenting my homelessness and would love to hear his story. He agrees to do an interview, but he wants to go in and eat breakfast first so I wait outside for him and talk to some other people in front of St John’s homeless breakfast.
I ended up spending the whole day with Artie. Artie tells me about living with his sister, and having an argument with her. He went into the attic and lit a fire, and then he went and reported it. He was incarcerated for 4 years for the arson. Artie struggled with alcoholism after being released from prison and living homeless. He said he got really sick and had a hole in his bladder, one day he was in incredible pain. He went to the fire department and they rushed him to the hospital. He was able to go into emergency surgery and they patched him up. Now he has a colostomy bag for the next 46 months. Artie tells me that he watches for fires for the fire department, and he’s very friendly with all the people with the fire department.
9:30 a.m. I follow Artie to a place called Open sky that he says is a day center. On the way he stops at the fire department and says hi to his friends. When we get to Open Sky I have to do an intake like I usually do with these places. It’s a place that’s run by the DOC. You have to be justice involved to utilize their services. Luckily I’ve got plenty of that, and they let me in. It’s one of the nicest places I’ve been as far as day centers go. They have case managers and a recovery coach on staff, a nice kitchen, activity rooms, and case managers to help you with all kinds of stuff. Artie likes to spend his whole days at Open Sky. He also told me that they’re working on getting him housing. There’s an issue with the bathrooms at Open Sky today, so around 11:00 they tell us we have to leave at 12:00 so they can fix the plumbing. While I’m at Open Sky Artie introduces me to a couple of his friends, two women that use the center. The Staff are really friendly and helpful as well.
12:00 p.m. Artie and I bike over to the library where we’re going to do the interview. Arty goes to use the bathroom to clean out his colostomy bag, and while I’m sitting at a table he comes out of the bathroom and tells me he has to go change the bag because he ripped it. I tell him I’ll just wait at the library. When Artie returns We go out in the back of the library and we do an interview. I find it fascinating that Artie has a history with Arson, an infatuation with the fire department, says he monitors the city for fires, and it was a fire department that ultimately got him to the hospital in time to save his life.
After the interview Artie wants to go to Union music store to play on the keyboards. I accompany him and when we get there I record a song that he wrote called and never say goodbye.
2:00 p.m. After hanging out at the music store for a while Artie wants to do something different. I’d suggested I buy a bike lock for his bike, so I googled hardware stores and I found one about a mile and a half away. While we’re riding to the hardware store Arty sees a girl that I’ve seen in the street and at the homeless dinners, I actually gave her my half eaten chicken my first night in town at Mustard Seeds. When they see each other Artie stops and they embrace. Artie says that she is his niece. But Artie has said other women are his niece, so I don’t really know what that means. This girl has told me that she has cirrhosis of the liver, she said she has cervical cancer from HPV. She says that she stopped using fentanyl and she wants to stop drinking. Artie stays with the girl while I go and buy a bike lock for him at the hardware store. I stopped to take a picture of a Mural of bike riders. When I return to Artie The girl has left. I give Artie the bike lock, and he wants to go over to the mustard seed dinner.
3:00 p.m. Artie and I arrive at Mustard Seed dinner. The dinner starts at 5pm, but there are people outside waiting for the food pantry to open. There are families with children at the dinners in Worcester. I hang around smoking my vape and a couple cigarettes. I am always working on uploading videos and writing the blog, so a lot of time was spent on that.
4:30 p.m. People have been filtering into the outside picnic area at Mustard Seed. There’s a big crowd. I go inside and sit at the dining area for a while. There’s a man at my table yelling back and forth with a woman across the room. It’s a tense feeling. Finally the woman throws a full bottle of maple syrup at the man’s head. It almost hits the man sitting next to him. I decided to hangout outside at the picnic area for a while. Outside there are about 3 other loud altercations going on. In one of the altercations the two men are talking about fighting. They’re yelling at each other, with their friends by their side. One of the participants tries to call a truce, but the other guy won’t shake his hand. This goes on for a while, they hit the street to go behind a building.
5:10 p.m. The meals start getting handed out outside, so I grab one and whatever fighting was going to happen seems to have subsided, I eat my dinner. After I finish my food I have a cigarette, there’s a girl sitting near me, and we start to have a conversation. She shares with me her struggles with substance use, homelessness, and mental health. She is very bright, and has a kind spirit. We talk at length for a while until it’s time to leave. We walk and talk for a while and then say our goodbyes.
6:30 p.m. I ride about 5 minutes back to the library and charge my phones for a bit.
7:45 p.m. I ride out to my camping spot. I take a video of the new lights they put under the highway bridge on the way. When I get to my camp area I sit on a shopping cart and do a Facebook Live to discuss Urban Survival. It’s a short video. It’s getting cold, and I am hungry so I buy a 6″ chicken bacon ranch sub at Subway, and eat that outside.
8:30 p.m. I head into the gym grab my gear from the locker, walk over to my camp site, set up camp, and get ready for sleep. My boots smell worse by the day. This really bothers me. I have to Google how to unstink your boots. It’s windy so leaves are rustling. I’m too tired to be paranoid. Lights out.