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February 27, 2008

Comments

Lisa

Painful, m'dear. Sorry.

Ron H.

I usually surf the internet and study my favorite sites in the evenings with the TV blairing behind me (often while talking with the wife.) I was always a multitasker, my attention level rarely being absorbed by just one thing. I'm too easily distracted, I suppose, or perhaps my searching is too intense to stop, even when I've found something.

I want you to know that I muted the TV tonight to read this piece. I don't often do that, but I didn't want to be distracted. You continue to grab, and amaze me.

Thanks for that.

Jude

Oh wow. I always ALWAYS wonder how the homeless survive at all, and think "but for the Grace of God" it could be me..... I can't even imagine the kind of fear I'd have having to live like that and I'm so glad you made it out.

Bless you!

An old guy

I came over from Daily Kos, and the "Mike" diary.

Your story is very, very moving. I spent some time on the streets in Portland, Or. in the early 70's when I was in my early 20's, and my experiences were similar to yours. I learned how to get a few bucks by scrounging for empty bottles and getting the deposit back. Or stealing a case of empties off a loading dock at a grocery store. And signing my name for my refund as "John Wayne".

I ended up in a commune's "safe house" in a seedy neighborhood, where I had to work for a bed. Someone took me under their wing, and showed me how to get day work. That didn't last too long, but at least I was able to cobble together a few bucks for a cheap hotel room.

I cleaned myself up, and went down to a military recruiting office the next day. While I was processing, they put me up in a better hotel for a few days. And then I decided I couldn't do it - so early in the morning of my induction, I packed my backpack and took off - on the road again.

I finally did join the military some months later, and it turned out to be a lifeline for me in so many ways.

And now today, at 55, it feels sometimes like I'm on the verge of your nightmare again. But there is no safety net this time, and I have others depending on me.

It sucks.

Thanks for your story this Sunday morning. Perhaps it's given me some inspiration.

Paul

You know, you and I are about the same age. I was in San Francisco in 1980, and I saw the homeless in the Tenderloin. I was from Michigan and a college graduate, but I know now I was suffering from depression and social anxiety disorder which prevented me from using my education and talents.

I got by with the help of some older gay friends. I got temp work with PG&E on a long term assignment and found a residential hotel in Geary Street to live in. Being young and attractive helped me. It was sort of fun when I look back on it. But I realized I was not that strong to survive an expensive city like San Francisco on my own. When my temp job ended, I used my last paycheck on a plane ticket back to Michigan where I could live with my father.

My Dad was sort of indulgent in a detached sort of way. He gave me some gas money, there was food to eat and a roof over my head.

But there was no real understanding of depression back then. I did not get any medication, and my life drifted on. I did get my one job which lasted more than a few months in my life in my 30's.

I am going on and on. But your story sort of brought deja vu to me. I would have suffered the same fate as you had I not been young and cute and had gay friends to help me. And a father who took me back.

Now I get by on disability and subsidized federal housing. Im still in Michigan, and with the budget cuts and all I live in fear that my support network will be ripped away from me one day. There are no jobs here to speak of,and they go to the young.

I know I would not be strong like you were if I had become homeless in San Francisco in 1980. If it happened now, God forbid. Im in my mid 50's now and nobody's gonna want me for my looks . lol

Anyway, you are a great writer and thanks for telling us your story. You are a wonderful writer. God bless.

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