And Now They Have a Tent

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I feel so guilty but I think I hate the homeless couple that lives in the alley behind my apartment where our parking spots are and where the restaurants on Melrose have their parking spaces.

These ‘transients’ as the police call them (I know that from calling the cops on them a billion times) are on meth or maybe heroin or crack? I doubt heroin because I rarely see them slacking and I’m thinking more of an upper because they are either giggling or fighting. And I mean fighting. They make Sid and Nancy look like Steve and Edie. The dude transient is often screaming, “You whore! You got high without me! I waited two hours for you on La Brea! Now I’m going to smoke a cigarette and then I’m going to kill you!”

They sleep on a mattress up against a wall with many, many blankets and sleeping bags. And now…they have a tent. A tent. It looks like little kids are playing house in their parents driveway. Their tent, I shit you not, even has a little lantern out front, hanging in the threshold. The homeless dude’s very organized and tricked out shopping cart is parked outside their new home. Their tent is now right smack in someone’s parking space, someone who works at the restaurant and the tent rests against an outdoor vent thing in a cage. They live right under a warning sign about getting towed.

I so badly wish that they could get towed. I don’t know why they make me mad. When I see other homeless people I just get mad at the Vietnam War or our put it on credit society or Reagan for releasing mental patients in the 1980’s. But these people…they are just a few showers away from being people I’d see at a 12 step meeting. They could get their shit together. I know, all about addiction, trust me. I know they think they have their shit together and I know they’re deeply in their disease…but I still judge them.

I think because I saw Homeless Dude at a Starbucks, with a laptop (?) and this kid was asking him something about his computer and Homeless Dude condescended to the kid, and said, “See this?” (points to laptop.) “This is all….bullshit. This whole thing.” (indicates the entire street.) “My woman and I are happiest when we’re out in the woods, just getting back to nature and forgetting all this bullshit.”

I don’t know when they have time to get to their non-home in the woods because they always seem to be in my backyard fighting. It’s like living with scary alcoholic parents (which I didn’t.)

The other night, one of the nights that I was super sick…I saw an ambulance with it’s lights flashing but no sirens, slowly creeping down the alley. I ran to the end of our apartment, like I was trying to catch Santa. Neil went outside to see what’s up. He came back with his skimpy report, through the eyes of a typical guy who can’t comprehend details, “The ambulance driver said something. She is sitting there and the Homeless Dude is yelling.” No, no, no. That will not do. Let me see for myself!

I went out back, stood on a deck chair and peered over the fence. There were four EMT’s and they were surrounding the Homeless Girl who was propped up against a wall, appearing nodded out, or dead or OD’ing. Her high and Homeless Husband was smacking her in the head and kicking her to wake her up and screaming, “Uhhhhh!” in her face. The EMT’s were helping him to not do that. And some EMT’s were poking around their stuff with flashlights.

I was shivering and also very sick and Neil made me go in the house. I instructed him on how to observe and report in a way that I find acceptable and he took over and watched. I guess Homeless Girl got in the ambulance and Homeless Guy stayed behind and said, “I love you, babe.” (Not to Neil but to his girlfriend.) I asked Neil if Homeless Guy got arrested and he said, “It’s not illegal to be homeless.” I know that. But aren’t they doing…something wrong?

And not even seven hours later, I went outside to go to my car to drive to the doctor and there the lovebirds were, asleep on the mattress. The Girl woke up, stretched and yawned and I swear I thought I was going to see a cartoon bluebird land on her shoulder. She was chipper, clear and woke up her husband with a hug and a giggle.

WHAT? She was just hospitalized and completely OD’ing. I slept in a house with a case of the sniffles and if you saw the two of us, I was the one who looked more homeless, with my red nose, skin peeling, matted greasy hair under a hat and sallow skin.

These people are resilliant. And I feel guilty for hating them so much. I just know that they’ve got potential.

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