Archive for August 30, 2014

New Amazon Review

Posted: August 30, 2014 in Uncategorized
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Glimpse Into the World of the Homeless, August 29, 2014
The homeless are everywhere and what many don’t realize is that it can happen to anyone. Whether it’s due to illness, losing a job, mental issues, or just bad luck – it can be you out there.Dennis Cardiff has written an account of the conversations he had with the homeless and before you know it, you get drawn into each story and are eager to find out what happens. He writes in a way that allows you to see each person as an individual instead of just someone you pass on the street on the way to work.I enjoyed the conversations and getting to be a part of the world of the homeless. It’s a book that doesn’t judge but only allows you to glimpse into another world where people are in this situation for a variety of reasons; some through their own life choices and some through no fault of their own.

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29 August 2014

“Good morning, Dennis. You’re early. Are you bucking for a raise?”

“Where I work we don’t get raises.”

“Maybe they’ll kick your ass out the door. That’ll be a raise.

“You don’t work for the phone company do you?”

“No.”

“I got a call at 8:00 in the morning. Some asshole was saying that I owe $240., or something like that. I said to him, “No I don’t. I have a receipt from the bank acknowledging my payment of $187.’ ‘No you don’t,’ he said. I said, ‘I’ve already talked to the phone company about that. It’s their error. This month I paid  the difference, so I owe you nothing.’ He said, “Yes you do, you owe the company $240.’  I said to him I’m not paying money I don’t owe, so do what you want. Cut off my phone if you like.’ He said, ‘I’m not authorized to do that.’ I said, ‘If I get hassled any more about this, I’ll  be stopping my cell phone. I’ll bring the television receiver to your office and I’ll smash it on the floor. So, you’ll be able to add that to the rest of the money I’m not going to pay. When you get of the phone You can go fuck your mother, because that’s all you’re good for.’

“That’s a hell of a way to run a business.”

I asked, “Was the call from a collection agency? They buy debts and receive a percentage of anything they can recover, at least that’s the way I understand it.”

“No this guy said he was from the phone company.’

I asked, “Do you have any plans for the long weekend?”

“No, I’ll be coming down here to McDonald’s to meet with my friends. I usually bring a coffee from across the street. I order the extra small there. At McDonald’s I ask them to refill my cup, because they don’t have extra small. The guy refused to refill my cup. He said it wasn’t sanitary.  I settled for a regular size coffee filled half way to the top. They never get it half full. It’s either too much or not enough. When I add two milk and one sugar, it doesn’t taste right. I’d feel stupid bringing a measuring cup, but that maybe the only way I can get a decent cup of coffee. Sometimes, they give me cream instead of milk. That doesn’t taste right either.”

A man with a long beard walked by. I asked Chuck, “Do you know that guy?”

“I didn’t see him.”

I said, “That’s the guy that Joy got in a fight with. He shoved her and she landed in the street.”

Chuck asked, “What was the fight about?”

“He was standing in her spot.”

“If he wasn’t a panhandler, she’s got no right to ask him to move.”

I said, “He was arrested by the police. I think he’s crazy.”

“Crazies are a different matter.”

I said, ” Friends of mine who stay at the shelter complain that the alcoholics, the crack-heads, the crazies are all thrown together. Nobody can get any sleep.”

Chuck said, “They should keep them separated. I had a friend who stayed there. I liked the food. On the main floor was everyone there for one night only. On the second floor they put the people who had signed up for the week. At the back they had nicer rooms for people who were employed, but were saving their money to get a place of their own. They were semi-permanent.

“I remember when that place was just a soup kitchen. In fact that’s what it was called, The Soup Kitchen. It was close to where I lived so I’d go there for my lunch. I remember one day they were serving oysters on the half shell. Nobody but me wanted to try them. I love them. I ate so much I got sick.

” After lunch they’d give out small bags of groceries, so people could make their own lunches. Often I’d stand at the back door and offer guys two bucks for their bags. The booze can was in the next block, so most of them preferred the cash. I don’t know how it operates now.”

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28 August 2014

André said to me, “Dennis, haven’t a cushion for you to sit on, but use my bike, you can sit on the frame. It may not be comfortable, but it’s better than sitting on the wet grass.”

“Thanks André, is this one of the bikes you fixed?”

“Yeah, that’s what’s been keeping me in spending money. My check should be in today, but I’m not even going to bother cashing it. I’ve still got five hundred bucks at home. I’m taken care of.

“See this stereo radio I got. I found it in a dumpster. I was rooting around looking for an empty plastic bag to put something in. I could feel that this one bag had something in it. I was careful, it could have been dog shit for all I knew, but it turned out to be this radio. With some new batteries, it works fine.

“I was off drinking for eleven months. Now I know I can quit if I want. Sometimes, I like to come here and have a drink with my friends. I never said I’d never have a drink again. It’s just like getting out of prison. I’d be in for nine years, get out for a month, be back in for two years. When I was leaving I’d always say to the guys, “I’m going to change my life around. I’m never coming back inside again. Of course, I’d get drunk, do something stupid and be back inside. The last time I got out, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to jinx it, and so far it’s worked.

“It’s the same with drinking. I know I’m an alcoholic, but I also know that I can control it. I stick to a couple of beers at a time and I feel great. I don’t have the shakes. I don’t have the dry heaves. I’m better off than I’ve ever been, so I don’t want to jinx it.”

Shawn had been talking on the phone. I knew he’d been to the welfare office, so I asked how the meeting went.

“I’m screwed, man. The welfare office said I need something to prove that I’ve found a place to live. I went to my worker and she said all I need is a ‘statement of intent to rent’. She helped me out with that. I want back and they said I need some kind of proof that I live there, like a hydro bill, or something. I don’t know how I can do that, because the friend I want to stay with is out of their jurisdiction. I’m fucked. I can’t stay at my mother’s place because her boyfriend came over for the weekend. I don’t know what I’m going to do.

“Do you have some bus tickets? That would really help.”

“Sure,” I said,  “How many do you need?”

“Two will do.” I handed him the tickets.

“Thanks, this will help a lot.”

I said to Jacques, “I see you’re still drinking out of your sock,” referring to the sock wrapped around a mason jar he was drinking from.

“Yes, it works fine. It maybe insulates, as well. I don’t know.”

I asked Wolf, “How are you doing?”

“I’m tired,”  he said. “It’s been a long week for me. You may laugh, but it’s tough panning five days straight. I’m looking forward to a few days of doing nothing. I told you I have my three new books, beer in the fridge. I’m all set for the long weekend.

“I guess you’re going to your cottage, are you?” I nodded in agreement. “I really envy you that. I’d just like to be somewhere quiet for a change. I know there are crickets and bullfrogs, but not the constant sound of traffic.”

Debbie said, “I love going to the woods. It’s part of my heritage. It’s where I feel at peace and at home.”

I asked Donald, “Have you any plans for the long weekend?”

“No, not really. My friend and I are living in a cabin on an island, so we have to get there by boat. It keeps the rain off. Sometimes, I come into town to stay with my mother, or to get groceries. I have to come in for my methadone treatments.”

I said, “Tell me about your cabin.”

“We built it ourselves. It’s not a castle, but it keeps the rain off. It didn’t cost us anything. The wood was already there, we just nailed it together. It’s nice, because nobody can see us when we’re there. Like Wolf said, it’s ‘somewhere quiet for a change.’

Jacques said, “I’ve got a splitting headache.”

André said, “I’ve got some oxycodone if you’d like some. I just bought it last night.”

Robert asked, “Can I see that bottle? This says percocet!”

Wolf asked, “Well, is it oxycontin or percocet? They’re two different things.”

Robert said, “The print is awfully small, but it has both oxycodone and percocet.”

Jacques said, “Never mind.  I’ve got some Motrin in my bag. I’ll take a couple of those. Maybe, I just need to drink more.”

Little Jake walked up. He asked, “Wolf can I borrow that sweater? It’s cold here in the shade.”

Wolf said, “It’s clean. I don’t mind if you wear it, but don’t use it to sit on the ground. You can even smell how clean it is.”

Jake said, “Yeah, you’re right.”

It was time for me to leave. I said, to Jake, “I have to go now, but let me smell that sweater first.”

Wolf and the crew said, “We’ll see you next week, Dennis. Have a good long weekend.”