Nathan was on something today and it wasn't the planet earth. It took him a full minute to write his name and when he spoke I could scarcely make out what he was saying. He brought two bunches of tiny pinkish flowers that gave off a a strong sweet smell—or so I thought until I sniffed them.
He handed them out to women at the Day Center. We he ran out of flowers, he was able to replenish his supply fairly quickly, probably from a nearby vacant lot.
If he wanted something, I never did figure out what it was.
I've known "Kris" for two or three years, although she's been in town at least since 2011. Doing some research recently, I came across a video where she spoke at an Occupy Grand Junction rally. She announced that she was an abuse victim who was temporarily homeless because she'd just left her man.
In the video, she seemed strong and confident, determined to get into housing. Now she's pipe cleaner thin and a shade manic. I think she camps and also lives in her truck. Having a vehicle that runs gives her a certain power and her easygoing manner lets her get away with mischief.
But today she asked if she could refill her sugar supply (a 16-ounce Coke bottle) with our sugar. Though I'm inclined to be generous, we buy sugar for the coffee and it's a much-in-demand commodity. Supplying her camp and shorting other guests doesn't fly.
I told her, I'm not the Sugar Man.
When we turn down requests like that, most guests get it, and you will find a great deal of sharing taking place among people who are homeless. A man who hangs with Kris had lent some of his winter gear to a young woman sleeping outside, for example. But there's also an undercurrent of theft. Sometimes it personal, and people get beat up, but other times it's just survival instinct. When something valuable appears, they just grab and don't think about it.
"Alysse" is another regular I enjoy talking to. She's living down the block now and told me a woman had traded a Rolex for the house next door to her. The owner had planned to tear it down but turned out to be loaded with asbestos and cost her more than the Rolex to clean it up. I used to think Alysse's only issues were alcohol and an overbearing mother, but today I had to recalibrate when she told me she was looking for oil riggers to go to work in Nigeria and anyone interested was supposed to leave their name with me.
I'm not the Nigerian Oil Patch Man, either.
A woman sat in the vestibule with her twin toddlers for a few hours. The kids can't come in, so she and her husband passed back and forth, sometimes leaving the boy and girl unattended in their stroller. They seem happy, alert and well-adjusted. The little girl helped me clean chairs at closing time. I heard the mother singing positive affirmations to them. But I also heard the husband running down the mom. It's not a good situation for anyone right now, but the kids especially didn't choose this.
Sorry, we're not a day care.