Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away

For the first couple of nights out on the streets, I have to wasn't that bad. It wasn't fun so to speak, but it wasn't bad. In fact, the second night I was so tired that I slept like a baby. Now having said that, last night completely and utterly sucked. It was horrible and it was my first glimpse at what it is really like for over 6,500 men, women and children out on the streets every day here in San Francisco.

My day didn't start out any different than the previous ones. I wrote, went to the library to check email, got something small to eat and then headed back down to the pier to watch the people and yet again, do some more writing. Being the introspective person that I am, I find that a lot of what I write I choose not to share publicly, at least not yet...but I do have to say that it has been very good for me and honestly has allowed me to do a lot of personal healing.

The clouds in the sky looked no more ominous than the previous days so I wasn't too worried about rain. I did notice though, that it was a few degrees colder than the night before and for that I was a little concerned. When the sky grew darker, I moved locations back to the patio outside of the Hyatt again to listen to the ice skating music and do some more writing. Other than having a slight case of the shivers, everything seemed to be just fine. Just after 10 PM when the skating rink closed, I moved towards the same bench that I had slept on the night before and made my bed and camp and got ready to go to sleep. When I would see homeless people on the streets of the City before, I used to always wonder what they were doing once they found a location to spend the rest of the night. Now I understood because I had already developed my own routine as well. When I was satisfied with my location and the placement of my belongings, I lie down and go to sleep.

Suddenly, at around 3 AM, I awoke to something that felt like someone was throwing small stones at me and hitting the top of my blanket and my head. Startled and now completely awake I realized that it wasn't stones or rocks but a nice heavy rain falling down upon me instead. Instantly, I scrambled to gather all of my things and put my blanket and towel back into my pack and head for shelter. I ran for the mall that was on the first floor of the Embarcadero Center building number four and waited until I could figure out what I would do next. The rain was coming down so hard and didn't seem like it would let up so for a moment I began to get worried. For some reason, I decided to try the front door of the mall to see if it was open and to my surprise it was. As stealthily and as quickly as I could manage, I made my way up to the second floor. The escalator wasn't running at that hour so I had to hike up the flight of stairs and look for a new spot to lay. It was well lit and their weren't many options so I finally settled on the entry way in front of the Gap. I folded my towel into a makeshift pillow and set the rest of my things beside me and immediately went to sleep. It was the first time that I had been able to fully stretch my legs and sleep like a somewhat normal human being. The floor was cold but the air was increasingly warmer under my blanket without the frigid wind outdoors.

Unfortunately, this only lasted for an hour and a half when at 4:30 AM, a man kicked me and ordered me to leave telling me that I couldn't stay there. Again, I quickly gathered my things and went down stairs and back out into the cold where it was still raining. Tired and out of options, I walked to the side of the same building that I was in and found a service door that was unoccupied and made my final camp there for the rest of the morning. This lasted until 7:30 AM when I was again kicked by another security guard asking me to leave. I was wet, cold, and extremely tired. Not knowing what else to do, I walked back to the ferry building and washed up in the restroom and then sat outside until it was mid morning and most of the commuters were gone for the time being. Completely drained, I knew that I couldn't do this for another least not four nights in a row. I was stinky, my feet hurt, my back hurt and I was mentally beat up. It's time to call it quits I thought, even if it is just for a few nights.

P.S. I am happy to say that I am staying in an old motel on Market Street with everything that I could possibly need, a bed, a television, and free internet. The rats and roaches were also added into my vacation package for free and I couldn't be happier. That's all for now. Peace.

P.P.S. The photo is my view from my room and this time it is from the inside looking out.

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