Homeless Update (Randyjw; February 1, 2019)
There is some good news, and there is some bad news. Don’t read this if you only want the good news. This article will describe my latest experiences as a homeless person, and they are not P.C.-/P.R.-positive, at all.
The good news is that a project I’ve been working on for months, which kept seeing continued miracles and continued setbacks, worked out for me. Yay! What that was is that I was trying to get my driver’s license renewed. It would normally be not such a big deal, provided one has the money to pay for the renewal. Being homeless, I had to apply through a soup kitchen/social services center to receive a check, which they say is funded by a kind benefactor. That’s wonderful, because I really was trying to prevent myself from having yet another disadvantage in a job search by not having a driver license, in case I needed to run errands at work, or something. Without a license, they tend to assume you had a drunk-driving charge and that your license became suspended, or something (which, of course, is not the case). My license just happened to be up for expiry.
First, the soup kitchen said there was plenty of time, and delayed me applying to get a check. Then I applied for and received the check. The good news is that it covers a regular motor vehicle license; the bad news is that they did not provide funds for any extra endorsements you might have, such as my motorcycle license – – so I lost the motorcycle license I’d been working so hard on to complete. I had completed a basic rider motorcycle course prior to moving to Israel, since I could not afford to ship a vehicle, and I just felt that a motorcycle would be an easier and cheaper alternative for me in that country. Little did I know that, when I got there, the license is not transferable, and you still need to go through rounds of classes to obtain an Israeli license. America and Israel do not have the same teaching methodology. So, when I learned in America, I had learned to start off in Neutral and cycle upward through the gears. However, in Israel, they start off in first gear, with brakes applied. I was unaware of this, and was startled that the motorcycle was already in gear, and so the instructor, upon seeing that, made me get off the motorcycle and only ride on a scooter. A scooter seems to me to have a lower center of gravity, with the smaller tires, and heavy-bodied set-up – – not to mention being perched with your knees forward, as if seated in a chair, rather than legs astride a seat, with knees more downward-facing. To me, this made it harder to control, and once I even bumped into the curb, after doing a number of tight figure-eights, and got my foot caught in-between and wound up limping home with a bit of a sprain in my foot/ankle. I eventually would have liked to get a small motorcycle, maybe 150cc or so, with a long, straight seat. After three rounds of classes, and using up quite a large portion of my living stipend in so doing, I passed through and received an Israeli license (although, to this day, I’m not sure if it’s only for a scooter or includes motorcycle up to 500cc – – I think; if I’m recalling correctly). Our class test was on-the road; I kept bringing up the rear… trying to be safety-minded. I think the instructor might have thought I had fears of going faster, perhaps; he eventually told me to go and pass the soldiers who had been leading the front, so I did. In Israel, also, vehicles stop to let pedestrians pass from the sidewalk. They should be doing this, also, in America (especially at a crosswalk – – it’s the law); but, that seems to be only a theoretical consideration in the drivers’ minds, as they blare through the crosswalks, and the crosswalk timer ticks down, and you haven’t even gotten to cross. Even worse, they somehow have badly engineered the timing lights, so that vehicles crossing through an intersection on a left-hand turn, would necessarily run over the pedestrian crossers at the crosswalk, who have gotten the signal to proceed. Crazy.
Well, back to the story. So, I took the check to the drivers’ license office, and wound up unable to pass the basic visual exam of looking into the machine and reading the eye chart. I had thought I might be able to pass the exam with three pairs of second-hand glasses I had already perused to receive – – but, these were not strong enough. When the licensing lady asked me to read line 5, I asked her which one that was; she said it was the green one: I couldn’t even read it. I had already had a prescription for glasses previously; but, when I was staying in the shelters, and leaving my large suitcase of belongings in a low-traffic area outside, it eventually was discovered by somebody, who stole some precious things from me: like my brother’s old t-shirts, which I was wearing to destruction. They also wound up breaking my glasses in two — and since they were fairly scratched up by now, anyways, they had become useless. So, I needed to find a way to get an eye exam and eyeglasses made, since now the licensing division was making it mandatory for me to return an eye doctor exam form that had to be completed by an appropriate eyecare provider to examine my eyes, correct any vision difficulties with glasses or lenses, if possible, and make me able to see, so I could pass my exam and drive again. Oy, yoy, yoy. I went to an agency that helps people with low vision, and they only help place adaptive assistive devices into peoples’ homes. Being that I have no home, they could not help me. They referred me to a place that supposedly, everybody says, offers free exams – – but, they don’t. It’s still $55.00, which I don’t have. I researched my options for free eye exams and glasses online, and discovered a program called OneSight, which partners with companies like LensCrafters and a few others to provide exams and glasses to millions of people worldwide. It seems like a really fantastic program. They build eye laboratory facilities in many countries around the world which might not otherwise have access to such vision care. It helps to provide jobs for the local people, and helps so many people live a greatly enhanced life. I’m so happy for this program. You can read more about OneSight, below. Well, they have these Event Days when they offer the free services to the communities. I had been about three days out from the next one, so I was desperately trying to find a participating LensCrafters location which would do this. I called around and found out that some only provided the glasses, but did not offer the exams, and you would need to bring in a prescription. Well, that counted me out. I had learned that one of the LensCrafters did, it seem, offer both the exam and the glasses. First, though, I had to receive a referral written by a charity group with their tax identification number on organization letterhead, stating that I did not have the financial means to afford an eye exam and eyeglasses. The OneSight website had mentioned that places like Lions Clubs were acceptable. Now, meanwhile, I had let somebody use my cellphone, and they wound up cracking the screen. From there, it splintered into many shards. It then fell about one foot from off my backpack (my fault), and it broke the phone. I needed to get a replacement phone, but they wanted some money to send out a replacement. This was an issue, and I had no way to call anybody, except via a free five-minute limit phone that soup kitchen patrons could use (which was never really enough time to wait on hold for various customer service reps whom you need to speak with). Then, the bus company decided to mess around with me some more and not send out my bus pass. This was very restrictive to my travels via limited-route community service buses, including being able to get to places to eat. It has really been rather difficult, to say the least. The Lions Club said he’d have his secretary send out the letter and to just email him. So, I did. Then, time went by, and when I had to travel to check my mail, this letter would never be there. I followed up with another email. Eventually, the man I had spoken with on the phone (one of those five-minute limit calls), admitted that he had no experience with such a letter, and broadcast emailed to the other Lions Club I had contacted in another city. The other Lions location told the man just to write the letter, but I never have received one. So, the Lions Club really dropped the ball on me, and let something slide for a long time, which greatly detracted from my efforts. Eventually, I just went to the LensCrafters location which had originally said, I believe, that they would perform both the exam and the glasses (as a dry run, to see where it was located). By this time the One Sight Event Day had passed, and it was only offered to the community on the one-day Event Day; and no mention of any further Event Days were even given on the OneSight website; it completely disappeared from off the site. And, it turns out, that particular location had decided that they were no longer going to be offering the free eye exam, but did offer to make my glasses if I could manage to get my own exam and bring them a prescription. So far, no good. Well, the driver license bureau had told me to come in upon the day my license expired (I came in a day or two earlier, just to be sure), and that I could apply for a two month temporary driver permit extension. I was still going through all these problems, miracles/setbacks, yet again and again. One day, due to the constantly inclement weather of late, I decided I would check out a day center where I might be able to warm up for a bit, rather than the usual types of public places available to the homeless, such as a library, where they keep it freezing cold and it’s kindof miserable, or outdoors in a park, where it also can be fairly miserable (and you can’t even lie on your back; you get in trouble for that – – I know; I did, and the police officer ordered me to go back to the soup kitchen, which was quite a distance away. Suddenly, we live in a police state and have no freedom of movement and are ordered about as to where we should be). In the area was located another driver license location and an eyecare place. The bus had overshot my location, and so I had to walk quite a distance to get to the location. I was resting with my bags (three bags, plus a pocketbook, weighing over fifty pounds!) and when I saw the driver license place, it was as if there were bright lights around it and angel voices going, “Ta-Da”. I had a feeling that this was where I needed to be. The only problem was, it was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and none of the businesses were open. I waited around to see if someone would eventually open up the Center, but they never did. I did leave them a voicemail, but they never wound up returning my call. It seemed I was beginning to bat out, but I somehow just kept plugging on. Something impressed upon me to return to the Center again, which I did. The people who run the Center came in briefly, and said they would return later, so I waited there, and they never did. I had a feeling that the eyecare place would be my saving grace. And, guess what? It was. They were open the second time I went back, and the very nice optometrist listened to a bit of the efforts I had relayed to him in trying to get an exam, and he agreed to do it for me, so that I could give the prescription and get them made through LensCrafters. Then, better, yet, he went the distance and wanted to do the glasses for me, as well. He was just starting out in this new location for him and told me that had I tried to talk to him even a month ago, he would not even have been there. He’s a small, nicely appointed office, working hard to make it become profitable. He asked me if I believed in G-d; and I said, Yes. Did he? Yes, he did, too. He said he felt like he was being the vessel through which G-d was operating. Now, the countdown was on, and my temporary driver permit was going to momentarily expire in less than a week, and I was waiting for a call from the Doctor to let me know when the glasses came in. It was cutting it soooooo close. I decided to take a trip by bus up there on the last day of expiry and just be nearby, feeling like the glasses would arrive, and that I was doing the right thing. It was, and they did. I was just resting on my bags before walking over to the eyecare place, when they started calling on my phone. For some reason, I haven’t figured out how to answer the phone when I have been doing something else, like texting or whatever, and it doesn’t seem to answer. I missed the call from the Doctor, but called them right back. The glasses were there. I went in, picked up the glasses, and walked over to the driver license place. While in line there, I noticed that the permit was not expiring that day, but had already passed expiration two days ago. It didn’t matter, however; they took the check (to a different license location), the eye exam form, I aced Line 5, and I took a terrible picture, but got my driver license.
Another thing which cut the story down to the wire was that I had recently received a first-time citation for a trespass charge (sleeping on the property of a no-longer-open public facility), and I was being given the option to do a program consisting of community service, and who knows what else, rather than have to go to criminal court. Well, that’s nice; except that the Public Defendant was telling me to place my initials wherever he decided to choose, rather than explain hardly anything to me (I can read; and the legalities seem to entail a possibly quite extended time of compliance, which can allow a lot to go wrong in that time). I didn’t like it; but I decided to go ahead and do this, and one of those days was now occupied with going through these problems. I understand that perhaps seeing the homeless on the streets might detract from tourism and perhaps be not so great for business, but on the other hand, I already told you that when you become homeless, and you can’t always get into a shelter (there are lotteries; additional, if you don’t make the lottery, you then have to chase down the referral-people at their various forays into different cities!) – – it’s a real time-consuming endeavor, never mind exhausting, and you don’t get to eat while you’re running around trying to do this, so it really saps your energy. Yeah, there are supposed shelter “programs,” but I’ve already been through that previously (they wouldn’t let me out, and I wound up losing the job that I had; between that situation and the issue with my former friend, which I wrote about, I believe, in another post, elsewhere, I think). So, I already spend a good portion of my time doing community service things, already; I stay after the church dinners and straighten out the chairs and help clean up; I also try to pick up the trash that the really rude homeless people who have no respect leave about the property – – at least so that we might not be targeted and profiled as badly. In any case, I’ll be starting additional hours doing other things to complete these community service obligations to eventually get this charge dropped from my record. I think it’s pretty sorrowful that I’m turned into an instant criminal just solely due to my poverty and really having no place to stay. I both overnighted and went through the shelter programs, and left the program after myself and another individual received mystery rashes on our arms after taking tuberculosis tests, although we were both diagnosed as T.B-free. The fine print, though I didn’t have time to read the rest of it, and saw pretty much only that portion of it, allows them to experiment on you, in essence….
Well, after I stayed behind to straighten up the chairs after a church dinner last night, it turned out I was later in getting to a “spot,” and someone was already there. So, I went over to the next available one, and set down my bags and sat on top of my larger backpack. There was already a blanket off to one side of this small platform and some sneakers there. I just figured that it was some rude homeless person leaving their belongings around; or, perhaps, it might’ve been abandoned stuff that would sit there for time on end, and never get cleaned up. I gave it about fifteen minutes, in case someone was away and using the “restroom facilities;” but, really, since the shoes were there, I didn’t think they would have gone off without their sneakers, and so I got the distinct impression that they were just leaving their stuff about and no-one would show up. Now, meanwhile, somebody I know had needed another spot, and so I alerted him to that location, and he often utilized it, so that when some other guy suddenly showed up and claimed that this was his spot where he had been for a really long time, I knew he was lying, because I even am aware of a couple that used the spot, even prior to the guy I know. So, I told him my suppositions; that I know he hasn’t actually been there; that the sneakers gave me the impression that this was just abandoned stuff, and that I planned to be there. At first, the guy that showed up (the new one; not the one I know) said okay; but when I saw that he wasn’t removing his apparent stuff but just neatening and placing it in the area where I was going to place my own things, and I said that he hadn’t been there, and that I had, and so he just had to go find a new spot that time, he went ballistic on me. I was sitting on my larger backpack in a small alcove toward the corner of a brick wall, and he bashed my head backwards into the back wall. As I got over the shock of what had just happened, he came at me with a right, and knocked my head into the brick part of the wall. As I was righting myself, sortof like either a jack-in-the-box or a punching bag, he again hit another shot. And, then, once again. Four times, he bashed my head into the wall. I said I was going to call the cops, and he grabbed my phone out of my hand, and said he IS the cops (or “a cop!”), and then said, “Well, my Uncle…” Okay; so is the guy a brutal police officer attacking me? Is he only just impersonating a police officer (which, in itself, is a major offense)? I grabbed my phone back and called 911. The operator asked me whether I was White, Black or Hispanic. Hmmm…. that doesn’t leave much choice if you’re an “Other.” I told her I was Jewish. She said, “That’s a Religion.” I said that’s also my nationality. And then she asked what color my skin was? White, (Black…)… Hmmm…. she’s trying to peg me into a race that I don’t fit into, but they don’t even allow for anyone who might be a different background…. What about Asian? Indian? Hello? And what’s with the three choices, and the skin color thing…. Is “Hispanic” really actually a skin color? I’ve actually had this conversation with 911 once before, and it doesn’t seem that they’ve learned anything by it… To make matters worse, despite being brutally victimized by a misogynistic black male who has no respect for women, (he could have just moved to another “spot,” like I had done, without beating anybody up or making any issue out of it…), the response of the police was even worse. A police car in the area drove by too fast for me to even notice and flag down. Afterwards, another one came by and was directly at the far side of the corner sitting at a red light in the intersection. The driver of the car actually took off and hung a left-hand turn on a red light after I had passed in front of the car and had just put down my bags at the curbside to speak with the officer. I think they had cancelled the call after that. So, I called back, and they sent another officer (maybe this was the guy’s Uncle? Who knows!!!). I was not bleeding, but my neck hurt as if I might have some whiplash, due to the angle at which he punched me and my neck flopped over, and my head was ringing, and my jaw hurt from the force of the back of my head and other parts of it hitting the brick, and possibly jarring my jaw. Needless to say, I am quite sore (I could use a long soak in a hot tub, and several days of pampering and bed rest inside, to be quite truthful). Now the officer says he’s going to write “No injuries”. Well; it’s nice to know that the police department has been able to get Superman on-staff; probably at a relatively cheap rate, considering his abilities, and that this super-policeman is able to see through my body and determine that I have “No Injuries”. Really? Are injuries only external? Hmmm…. the logic escapes me…. So, then the officer asks me What Is Your Agenda? What!!!???? He’s finding it difficult to believe that this just happened, considering that I am not bleeding, and thinks perhaps maybe that I might be making this up and have some type of agenda? What!!!??? Are you nuts? I’ve been homeless for one year, eight months, plus… and took a bit of pride in the fact that I’d never been assaulted, raped, killed or anything else. I know…. right? Like, who should even have to think of these things? Women? Children? For real? And now this cop with his supercilious attitude tells me that I get no paperwork (of this incident) and that I have to first go to the Police station to file a report (So… why did he need to report to the scene, in the first place?) He’s not going to document it? and that there is a filing fee. A filing fee! I tell him I’m homeless and (probably can’t) afford a filing fee. So, what’s with this? Usually, Leftists during those Obama years were constantly bleating about “Access” (or the “Lack” of “Access”), such as to healthcare, etc., which is a false claim, since insurance companies can’t discriminate against anyone based on protected statuses, such as race, etc… but, here we are, the victimized poor even being able to receive further justice because we might not be able to afford the filing fee. Get Real! Someone needs to start a petition to abolish crime report filing fees and the like, to enable all people to have equal access to the protections that such units, such as the courthouse and/or police reports, etc., are supposed to afford to all its counties’ citizens… not just the more well-off, who are able to afford filing fees. So, now, this is why one of the reasons that violent, dangerous people continue to roam the street and wreak havoc with impunity, and the community enables this to happen by curtailing the ability of marginalized people to apply for the same rights of equal protection under the law. Makes you think; doesn’t it?
I found out I have this condition:
Update (February 22, 2019): I went to the police station, and found out that there is really no filing fee. Good news: I don’t have to make a petition to get rid of any “filing fees.” Bad News: The poor treatment that I had already received at the hands of the policeman, after the incident (which was bad enough, in itself), means that the policeman actually must have lied to me. I don’t imagine it could have been because he might have been ignorant of very simple procedures at his station. Do you? Bad News: I had developed sortof PTSD-like symptoms after the incident. For three days thereafter, I would find myself crying out of the blue. The Good News: The symptoms disappeared. Not only that, but I find myself feeling extremely empowered. Not just as a survivor, because, while I was a victim, I do not really want to immerse myself in that. It is more like a behavioral therapy thing, almost. Facing a fear, and powering your way through it. Fear disappears. I use the mental mindset for many things, that I am a soldier. It helps me through a lot of things.
Update (February 26, 2019): Two days ago, on Sunday, February 24th, I was walking “home” and was crossing a bridge, when I got bad vibes about a man on the bridge, who was acting with unusual behavior. He crossed back and forth on the path; he looked over one side, appearing to me as if contemplating the height drop; and dawdling as if waiting for me to catch up. I feared I was in trouble. I considered turning back, but that would have placed me at a greater height, and I honestly felt like he wanted to push me over the bridge. I needed to get past him and move toward lower ground and off the bridge, but he had slowed to a stop, right about at the passing point. My apprehension had been justified. Saying, “Excuse me,” he tried to wrench my pocketbook off me, and also groped me. I realize, retrospectively, that the groping was probably to see whether I might have hidden money there, since his efforts at my purse went unrewarded. In a firm, loud voice, I told him to “Let go!” of my bag. He did, and then proceeded at a faster pace down the bridge. I could tell he planned another assault, and he lurked near the bridge, off to the right, a short distance. Cars were trying to vie into the street, and others were approaching shortly, but I just had to cut the first off, and use the second to my advantage in placing a shield between me and my attacker. I got over to where some people were standing: an elderly couple. The lady was dressed well, and she had a pocketbook hanging, so I pointed out my pursuer and told them what happened, to warn them, then walked back quickly to my rest spot and contacted the police. So, I’m a little back to temporary PTSD moments, but I’m sure they’ll subside in a few days.