Lou Gehrig kiss my ass -- because I'm the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.
I know some folks don't like me using the term "homeless" because I have saved a little money and I have a roof over my head, but don't think for a second I take that for granted. I also have a laundry basket killed with shelf-stable food purchased when the pandemic was new. I'm working hard to stretch my savings because who knows how long it will take me to find a job? (As an aside, it's surprising how much pudding is shelf stable.) However, the general term for someone who doesn't have a permanent residence is "homeless."
That stark word doesn't belie my spirit, though.
Each day for the last week, friends old and new have reached out to offer words of kindness. Much of it so nice, I fear having to live up to "best writer," "best editor," "better human." Let's be truthful, friends, I have my moments and limitations. For instance, I cannot play short stop. I cannot do the splits. And most of what I know about ethics and morality comes from a mixture of Andy Griffith and Homer J. Simpson.
First, I have a place to stay. The owners of Motel 6 gave me a free week. The general manager Don and his wife bought me another week. A complete stranger has offered me his guest cottage for the summer for free. Laura Lane is cooking for me. Pot roast braised in wine. She won't tell me if she uses real pot because, as she texted, "every cook must keep secrets." Strangers leave beer at the front desk with sweet notes.
I have old friends helping me out on GoFundMe. Better yet, they're calling and offering me words of encouragement and just basic goddamn human decency. My friend from Uptown, Margaret Thomas called me Wednesday on her birthday and we had a couple of birthday drinks together. I've always though Margo, as she is called, should have a statue built in her honor -- but no such sculpting would do her justice.
Sarah Bahr wrote a nice story about me on Indianapolis Monthly. My friend of three decades wrote a nice story on Poynter.org. Utterly surreal for me as a journalist but beautiful as a human.
I talk to my kid every day, someone who is smarter, funnier and kinder than any other human being I know. And I'm a journalist. I know objective reporting. She amazes me beyond words, which is sad because I like to think myself a writer.
Nationally, complete and absolute strangers have sought me out via social media and some have tracked down my personal email and cell. They offer anything they can give, the best of which is support.
I am technically homeless. But lucky. Beyond words.
I found you through the NY Times article. I have loved your posts, and am so glad you've decided to use paragraphs. (In fairness, Virginia Woolf wasn't much for paragraphs!) So glad so many people have reached out to you! Words really do matter, now more than ever! Keep writing!ReplyDelete
My name is Andrew. I commented on your last article regarding the virtual mailbox. I am in need of an editor and have an idea for a newspaper or blog composed by like-minded men.ReplyDelete
I'd like to send you examples of my work for your review and input. Please reach out to me at apaeth @ yahoo.com if interested. It will alleviate your boredom of nothing else.
I believe we are kindred spirits that are destined to meet. Our paths are varied and yet very similar. I believe we both care deeply about the future of humanity and realize that levity is a requirement of devotion to a cause. I hate texting so forgive any typos or misapplication of data bits.
I found your story and link to your blog the other day and reading regularly now. Thank you for your take on homelessness. We have been housing a homeless friend in our guest room for somewhere around a year now and will do so until she gets to the top of a subsidized senior housing list somewhere in a six county region.ReplyDelete
It's unbelievable the crap people throw at her. She gets crap for having a cellphone....as if 1) she could get work or negotiate the world without it and 2) her monthly cellphone bill would magically cover rent. She gets crap for not moving to a cheaper state....as if leaving her support system, friends, people who employ her, MediCal, medical providers and moving with zero prospects to a place she still can't afford housing is in any way a sane life move for a disabled senior.
I'm really pleased you have garnered decades of goodwill and have a network of support and I thank you for being a public voice. Be well. Keep writing.
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I am reading your blog and want you to know that I think a lot of people are following your blog and appreciating your willingness to share your experience. I can't wait to read the one you write when you get that one decent new job offer. P.S. I deleted my first comment due to missing some grammar problems.ReplyDelete
Sorry for your misfortune in what has become a bad luck industry. You will land on your feet and the industry will be the better for it.ReplyDelete
you are giving people a different perspective on that word, "homeless" -- shattering the stereotypes, bringing visibility to folks who we "prefer" to "not see". Thank youReplyDelete
Well, Rich, while I don’t give much of a shit towards indiana news outlets, I did see in my crumb feed from the Herald times the restructure announcement. The announced names are meaningless to me. What’s your take?ReplyDelete