It had been a couple weeks since I had seen J-Man. Some of the delay was weather-related and the rest of it was just my bad attitude. I had errands to run before the next front of bad weather rolled through and I was honestly a bit miffed at J-Man’s behavior the last couple times I saw him. Or didn’t see him, as the case were.
Archives For Helping The Homeless
A quick update: This evening I attempted to visit with J-Man… only, that didn’t happen.
As I approached his tent, I stopped about 20 feet away and announced my presence. Normally he immediately appears from within the tent — only tonight, he didn’t. I’m mostly certain he was “home” as his shoes were just outside the door. However, I called twice with no answer.
I don’t know for sure if he wasn’t there… but since I don’t have the habit of walking into friend’s homes when they don’t answer the door — I didn’t advance any farther and just left.
On the way out I passed L who informed me that he was headed to remind J-Man that W was going to pick him up tomorrow morning to take him in for his medical examination. W and I were supposed to have lunch tomorrow, but he figures this will be an all day ordeal. I’ll be checking in with W tomorrow evening to see how things went — if they went.
I believe I’ll lose the repetitive “Helping The Homeless” title. It’s neither very catchy or informative.
Yesterday I checked in with J-Man to see how he’s been doing. Aside from his odd behavior at times, he’s always a pleasant host and inquires about what sort of day I’m having and if there is anything exciting going on in the world. I told him the Seahawks won the Super Bowl on Sunday and I’m afraid that’s about as much insight as I could provide on the game since I stopped watching after half time and spent the first two quarters socializing.
Speaking of odd behavior… I have to clear my mind of a few things that J-Man does that (internally) aggravates me. Said simply, it’s his complete lack of foresight/forethought for the future. Although, you might argue that may be what placed him in this position to begin with…
Last Friday I visited J-Man to see how he fared through the snow and ice earlier in the week. In fact, there was still a smattering of snow clearly visible about his campsite. When I inquired how he had managed through those tough few days, he simply remarked that he was cold.
I had urged him to consider spending the night in a shelter during those harsh evenings, but he wasn’t much interested. I declined repeating that conversation again for fear that it would sound more like “I told you so” rather than a reminder that there are alternatives to sleeping under the snow in sub-freezing temperatures. A nearly steady burn of propane sustained him through the worst of it on Tuesday and Wednesday and he had used all of it before another person helping support him delivered more earlier in the day.
Ever since I noticed it snowing this morning, I’ve been frequently thinking about how J-Man is doing tonight.
I visited with him Monday afternoon and kept him company for about an hour and a half. I learned that he had only spent two nights in the shelter, which surprised me, because I knew the (temporary) shelter would have been open to him for at least five nights. He said he wanted to return to his tent because the shelter wasn’t “permanent” and it’s availability was dependent upon the weather. (FYI: The shelter he stayed in is located 20 miles away.)
He also said that when he was not at the shelter, someone had paid him to perform some work around their shop — so he actually earned cash-money as well. He was super-excited about earning some “spending money” (as he called it) but was quick to note that it was temporary too.
Following up on my previous Helping The Homeless post…
This afternoon I stopped by to spend some time with my newest acquaintance, J-Man (as our mutual friend has nicknamed him). I delivered a couple more propane bottles and instructed J-Man not to worry about conserving them — because he was going to need it this week. I watched the expression on his face change from joy (from receiving more propane) to disappointment as I delivered the weather report for the week.
I figured two bottles of propane would last his Little Buddy Heater two nights as I intended on seeing him again Wednesday to deliver two more bottles. J-Man welcomed that news but I quietly loathed the idea of him spending several nights in sub-freezing temperatures. I knew that others were looking to find housing for him during the cold (based on his conversation) but I didn’t know what they would come up with, since I’m not aware of any shelters in the immediate area.
This afternoon, after work, I spent an hour with a homeless man.
On it’s face, that statement doesn’t appear to be a big a deal, but if you knew my history with homeless people, you’d understand why this was/is such a big deal to me.
It’s not that I don’t have sympathy for the plight of the homeless — it’s just I’ve traditionally kept my distance from homeless persons and chose to support them through donations to organizations that worked directly with them. I’ve had no reason to trust the homeless, as I have not been presented with any reason to do so — until know. That changed when a friend told me about a homeless person he knew living behind a store nearby. But it wasn’t that my friend told me he had helped a homeless person that drew my attention — I know how he feels about helping others. It wasn’t that this homeless person lives behind a large retail store in an affluent city — there are homeless people in all cities. It wasn’t that this individual is so close to where I work that I could have possibly had a chance encounter with him in the past (I haven’t).
It is because now I know his name.