Posts Tagged ‘vagrant’

Where’s The Money?

November 18, 2013

Sunday November 17th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

I could really use some good old fashioned positive news right about now. I’m not sure exactly what that news could possibly be or where it might come from, but it feels like everything in my life is holding on by a thread and could come crashing down at any time. I’d like some security.

I’ve been working my tail bone raw lately, but only barely treading water financially. There is no way I can keep up this hectic pace, but I don’t see any choice. I have to keep doing whatever it takes to keep money coming in, but that doesn’t leave much time for anything else. I’m spent.

This last week was a perfect example. It took a massive effort to line up the four days of work with three different bookers, and very rarely does it work out the way it did. More often than not there is always some kind of glitch that pops up like a last minute switch or cancellation and the whole week is ruined. It worked this time, but many more times it doesn’t. It’s a constant hassle.

I could afford to fart around with stuff like this in my 20s because I needed the experience. It’s a completely different ball game now, as I’ve got more of that than I will ever be able to use in a dozen lifetimes. All of that experience was supposed to be used to obtain a payoff at some point.

As it sits, that hasn’t happened. What scares me is there’s no guarantee it ever will. I was close to pay dirt with my radio job at The Loop in Chicago, but that’s ancient history now and nobody cares that it didn’t work out except my former partners Max and Spike. They’re still hurting too.

We all went ‘all in’ and rolled the dice by taking that job, and it blew up in our faces. None of us have bounced back to that level, and it’s a lonely road. We had it in our hands and through no fault of our own it was yanked away. The stars were aligned in our favor, and then they weren’t. So far we haven’t gotten a second chance, and I feel my patience draining. Was that all we get?

This is a cold cruel world, and entertainment is even colder. Comedy or radio or whatever it is, there isn’t any sympathy for anyone who has a rough break. That only means something pops up for someone else, and another body is out of the way. It’s definitely a jungle, and I’m in trouble.

I’ve risked all I have to get to this point, and I have no idea if anyone with power will ever find me. I can kick ass on stage and on the air, but I can’t seem to do it in front of anyone that can put me in front of a mass audience. I love to work, but doing it the way I am is ripping out my soul.

How the hell am I ever going to be able to attract a quality woman for a long term relationship when I’m still out there straining to scrape together rent every month? I’m only fooling myself to think any lady of substance is going to want to be with a borderline vagrant – which is what I am. It’s not what I aspired to, but circumstances have backed me into a corner and that’s where I sit.

Landing a steady income would really turn things around – if nothing else in my own head. I’m sick of living like a cockroach, but I have to keep the money coming in so I have no extra time to devote to looking for my dream babe. I was supposed to have a date today with a woman I’d love to know better, but she backed out on short notice because something came up. Maybe it did, but it sure stomps on my self esteem. If I want a honey, I’ll need some money. I think I’ve earned it.

To get one of these...

To get one of these…

...I'll need a lot more of this.

…I’ll need a lot more of this.

Desperation Doesn’t Lie

September 21, 2013

Thursday September 19th, 2013 – Chicago, IL

I think I spent the single best dollar I’ve ever spent today. I had a few stops to make in Chicago and one of them happened to be near where I used to live in Andersonville near Clark and Foster. I really enjoyed my time there, but the neighborhood changed quite a bit and rents skyrocketed.

It’s one of THE most diverse neighborhoods I have ever been to much less lived. It’s where the Swedish of Chicago first called home, and there’s still some Swedish influence remaining today including delicious restaurants and a museum. There’s also a large gay population which brings a lot more outstanding restaurants. There are some rough areas nearby, and that brings riff raff too.

It does provide an entertaining mix if nothing else, and I had some time so I walked around on Clark Street to enjoy the show. There’s never a shortage of unique humanity to gawk at, and on a sunny summer day they’re all out. I wasn’t disappointed as I made my way north from Foster St.

As I approached a McDonald’s, I couldn’t help but notice an old woman desperately asking all who passed her for money. I don’t know how else to describe her but one of the ugliest humans I have seen up close in a long time. I don’t claim to be any dreamboat sexpot, but she had a whole face full of ugly going on. She was striking, but not in the good way. Everyone was avoiding her.

My grandfather and I used to take walks when I was a small child, and he’d tell me there were homeless people and there were flat out bums – and there was a big difference. He couldn’t stand bums, as they were just looking for a free ride. Homeless people were an entirely different story.

Gramps told me the sure way to always tell if someone was a bum or really in need was to look them straight in the eye. “You’ll know immediately,” he said. “Desperation doesn’t lie. It will be in their eyes, and you’ll know it when you see it. Always take time to help whenever you can.”

This woman today was a total mess. She looked to be in her 70s, and who knows what sad tale of woe left her in this way? Her clothing was ragged and smelled like she’d just finished a rodeo, and her teeth barely numbered in the single digits. Her skin resembled a well worn catcher’s mitt.

As I got closer to the McDonald’s, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to avoid her pitch. She had persistence if nothing else, and all the rejection she got didn’t seem to bother her. I couldn’t help but see her face as she got a foot from mine and started wheezing her way through her sales pitch asking me for money. She was slow and stammering, and it took her a long time to muster it up.

What those others didn’t hear was, yes she wanted money…to buy a chicken sandwich. They’d long passed before she could get to that part, and she had no takers. I told her I wouldn’t give her money, but if she wanted a chicken sandwich I’d buy her one. That’s when the magic happened.

I saw that look in her eye that Gramps had talked about, and I could tell she was definitely not faking. When I told her I’d buy her that sandwich, her entire face lit up like that giant Christmas tree they decorate at the White House every year. I can’t remember ever feeling such a dynamic pulsating energy of pure and unadulterated gratitude in all my life. It made me step back a little, as it completely took me by surprise. Her entire countenance changed in barely a few seconds.

She was no longer the prune faced old lady that looked like Alice the Goon from the Popeye cartoons I watched as a kid. I felt a beam of spiritual light emanate from her and I gazed into the deepest part of her soul. I can’t explain it other than I felt a very real jolt of energy in that instant.

I asked if she wanted to eat inside the restaurant or if she wanted me to bring her the sandwich to eat outside. She followed me inside, and when we walked in I could feel every eye in the place staring as she limped her way to the counter behind me. It made me feel totally uncomfortable.

Apparently they had kicked her out of the McDonald’s more than once, and the manager came out from behind the counter to shoo her out once again. I told the manager I was going to buy the lady her chicken sandwich, and we’d both be gone in a minute. He was satisfied with that answer and instructed a counter person to take the order. Everybody in the restaurant was still gawking.

I asked the woman if she wanted anything else, and she shook her head no. All she wanted was a chicken sandwich, but I felt like buying her one of everything on the entire menu. I don’t know when she last had a meal of any kind, but if she wanted a chicken sandwich she’d surely get one.

She sat down at a table, and I watched as she gummed that sandwich with the few teeth she had left. It looked like a comedy sketch Carol Burnett would have done, but she had a look of content on her face as if she was eating the most expensive lobster on the menu at the finest restaurant.

Gramps was right – desperation can’t be faked. She needed that sandwich. This woman has had a rough go in life – a whole lot rougher than most of us ever have to face – and if all it took was a chicken sandwich to make her feel that good, count me in. She might have smelled a little ripe on the outside, but inside there was a whole lot going on there. That energy I felt was unmistakable.

As I watched her gulp down her sandwich, I tried to think of any time in my life when I was as hungry as she must have been and I drew a total blank. I’ve seen some troubled times of my own for sure, but nothing close to what must have put her in this bad of shape. My problems are zilch.

She finished the rest of the sandwich, and I asked if she wanted anything else. She again shook her head no and gave me a giant beaming sincere smile of gratitude that laid me out emotionally. It might have been short of teeth, but there was a major punch packed with her pure gratitude.

There didn’t need to be many words spoken. I felt her raw spirit, and it was a sweet one. There was a lot more to this person than that frightening outer appearance, and it felt like I was touched by a being of higher vibration than usual. I know it sounds goofy, but I can’t make any of this up.

I’m not bringing this up to try and pump myself up by what a wonderful guy I am for buying a homeless person a sandwich. I got a lot more out of her than she got from me. There was a very real and vibrant spirit inside her that I can’t remember being able to see so clearly in a stranger at any time in my life. Maybe it was a coincidence, but it sure felt like it was much more than that.

I was going to snap her picture with my phone, but decided against it. I thought she’d suffered enough, and didn’t want to make her more of a freak show. I don’t know why this happened, but I won’t soon forget it. If nothing else, I made Gramps proud. It was the best dollar I ever spent.

The best dollar I ever spent.

The best dollar I ever spent.