Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Stories from the Mission... bit 38

   There are three rail road draw bridges visible from the decks at the mission. To the south is a vertical lift type made up of two tall towers and a center section that has a shack in the middle. Just to the east of us are a twin pair of a completely different design. They are of a rocking truss design, looking more like a classic draw bridge, one of the two is in a permanent vertical position. That north upright one one used to run a rail line right through where the kitchen of the Mission is now and the areas where the trains used to run are covered by grasses and shrubs. While sitting on the stage at services, you can see out the windows to the east to where the bridges are. At noon stage today, I could just make out movement where I've never seen it before, a tiny, silver post, moving from south to north. It dawned on me... the mast of a sail boat heading up river! Then, for the first time since I have been here, the south bridge started going up! So cool! It's big, boxy, crisscross steel girders, a dark rusty brown with two giant cement counterweights of at least 30 foot in height hanging off the back like walrus teeth. Before today, I figured the bridge was so old that it was never used and rusted solid in place. To see it move made me feel like a giddy tourist in Alaska seeing a glacier calve a giant chunk into the sea for the first time, lol.
   I'm at Stroger county hospital for the second time in two weeks about my right ear. It's nice to get away from the hundreds of guys at the mission for a while, get some fresh air and sunshine. Stroger is a modern hospital made up of huge waiting rooms and swarming ant tunnels that seem to go on for a mile. I've been having a crackling sound in my right ear for a while now, especially with the louder preachers, and then I got some water in it in the shower, plugging it up and making me deaf on the right side of my world. So naturally, and dumbly, I got some Q-tips and did some damage. Last Monday I spent 8 hours in the purgatory of waiting rooms, sitting for hours, waiting to hopefully not miss your name being called as you watch and hear just about every country in the world represented, walk by. I got to see guys trying to sell calones (How do they always get them?) and even a few hookers hanging out. There was an outlet on the wall that helped me pass time by watching one person after another walk up, get out a phone charger, plug it all together and realize the outlet has no power. Maybe the city could help the homeless by setting up free charging spots for all the government phones they give out. After being in 4 lines, I get to see the specialist. They prescribe ear drops. The pharmacy, which reminded me of an afterthought, a scene from a bad New York city subway scene from the 70's, they told me to come back in 5 hours. Ok, I get it, it's free... but is this what socialized medicine is going to be like for everyone eventually?
   On occasion now I get out to peoples houses, and to understand where I am coming from, the last phone I had was a Motorola Razor. I've been out of circulation a bit, yep. I now see people all over that have screen addictions it seems. At one house, the father had a computer screen on a mount that held it over his lazy boy recliner, the son had a laptop in front of him on the couch, his girlfriend had a cell phone she was pulled into and the mother sat to my left, looking past all of us at the TV screen to watch a game show. I'm not sayin... just sayin.
   People judge so much on height. I mean, a 10 inch span, 6'5" is so tall, and 5'5" is short. Heck, for that matter, 2 extra inches on the waist changes minds too. At church a black lady asked why do people judge, to put people in groups like that? I told her how I used to have really long hair and how people would react to it... to me, it's just an easy handle for grabbing onto, to justify their lazy hate. Everybody cheered and clapped, lol. I think about it now... I'm just as guilty. I've looked down on homeless guys shaking cups. Till you've been there it is hard to understand. Then again, maybe I never wanted to understand because that would have put doubt in my own head at how great I was. I think about all those faces in the crowd now... staring starkly, befuddled, how did this happen? Being down is one thing, being stuck flat to societies muddy sidewalk with nothing to offer is horrific. I've seen many... many guys come and go in the program. they try and they fall, only a few can make it, and even then have troubles. I wish I had answers... but for now, all I can do is try to put a face on it.

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