Today I did my weekly volunteer turn at the Day Center in Grand Junction. Since it's been a year since I posted from here, here's a link to some background.
Things got off to a great start when one of the other volunteers took me for a client waiting for his laundry to finish and another one mistook me for one of the sex offenders who periodically drops by.
Last week, a soulful-eyed version of the Monkees' Michael Nesmith told us how his tent had been stolen — one he'd bought with his own money. But he was philosophical: "Whoever took it must've needed it more than I did," he said.
This week I asked if he'd gotten a replacement tent. He looked at me like I was nuts. I said, "I thought you told us last week your tent had been taken." Apparently not.
Also today, I got to see an unconscious young man picked up by the paramedics from our entrance; a young woman showing what appeared to be a fresh epidural port; and a technique for sleeping sitting up which involves sticking your hands in your suspenders so your arms don't drop and wake you.
I declined to help a man on medical marijuana sue the VA Hospital for causing him mental distress for bringing joints onto the VA grounds. I watched a woman meticulously rub a bleach solution into every screw and air hole in a drier before putting her clothes in. I listened to a discourse on the effects of nuclear radiation. And I was cheerfully informed by a client waiting for a shower that woodpeckers' tongues wrap around their brains, helping cushion the shock from pecking trees. (We do have quality reading material for clients in our waiting area.)
Human beings are an incredibly resilient species. But we haven't evolved an effective way to protect our brains from addiction, abuse, war and whatever other trees our clients have been banging against most of their lives.