Monday, May 22, 2006

Why the Link About the Homeless?

You might have noticed that in my list of links, there is one about the homeless.

Well when I am not at home messing with my ever growing collection of computers and typewriters I can be found working in a homeless shelter. It sure is an interesting line of work. You see the most interesting stuff! In fact just when you think you have seen it all, something completely 'off the wall' happens.

One of the most unique events I can recall happened about 4 years ago. To protect the guilty, we will call him Gary. Forever after known as 'six pack and a ho Gary'.

I went to work on a Saturday morning, but it was just to drop something off. So about 9am I was leaving the building when Gary saw me and said hello. No being in any rush I decided to stay and chat with him. I asked him how he was doing, and he replied "not very good". So being the caring person I asked what the problem was (my first mistake!). Gary had a bit of an addiction problem, he could not resist the VLT's (One armed bandits, aka slot machines) and last night had blown his entire two weeks worth of wages in them (well over $1000).

"so what are you going to do?" I enquire. "Get me a six pack and a ho" is his answer. I point out that this lack of funding he currently has is going to be a bit of a hurdle in his goal, Beer and prostitutes generally require the transfer of money.

Garry is not phased by this and invites me to accompany him on this quest. Well I personally was not interested in sharing the outcome, I was interested in how he was going to achieve his goals. So I said "sure thing Gary I'll tag along for a while".

It was a most educational adventure.

The first stop was a gas station a few blocks away. Gary had scammed a $2 transit ticket from god knows where, and this particularly scuzzy gas station would trade transit tickets for cups of coffee.

Fortified with caffeine he led me off in the direction of down-town. With no warning he hangs a right into one of the back alley's. "Where we going?" I ask, "first order of business is the beer" he tells me. He walks up to a large dumpster and climbs right in. After some banging and crashes he climes out with a used large black garbage bag, "you have to have something to put them in" and continues down the ally. "this is usually a productive spot" he informs me when we stop at another dumpster. In he goes, "we hit the mother lode!" he shouts from inside.

I finally get it, he is collecting cans and bottles for the deposit! A couple of dumpsters later he has filled up his bag.

Emerging from an ally Gary suddenly darts across the street, I have no idea what he is doing, then I spot the object of his desire, an abandoned supermarket cart! With the cart he has increased his earning potential. An hour or so later we find ourselves outside the bottle depot, in line to cash in our find. While we are waiting Gary regails me with bottle picking stories about finding full bottles of booze and money in dumpsters, he also graciously introduces me to several other "professional" bottle pickers. The pro's get up at 3am, that apparently is the prime time, you get the best stuff.

Because of Gary's late start, he only has made $10. I point out that while $10 is enough for a 6 pack, there will not be much left over for the "ho". He tells me that its all in hand, he has it covered.

Next stop, the liquor store where he gets his 6 pack of Black Label ($7).

"You Hungry?" he enquires, "tell you what, let me buy you lunch" he continues. And with that starts walking east. Yup, he bought me lunch all right, he took me to another homeless shelter!

After sating our appetite I ask the big question, "so Gary, ya got ya 6 pack, how are you going to get the ho?".

He looks across the room and winks, the ugliest (and I do mean ugliest) woman I have ever seen comes over to our table. Gary smiles and says "I'll share my 6 pack for a blow job". She thinks about this (for about half a nanosecond) "Okay". And off they went to the park!

I decided that I had had enough of this adventure and went home.

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