…Never let the bad person see you react to something that disturbs you or makes you cry. They will use it against you. The only way this can backfire is when they interpret it as acceptance and they think you will allow them to continue the behavior that you don’t want. …

I went to the food pantry. I’m not proud. I don’t have enough money to buy enough food for myself. Before they lead us into the church’s fellowship room everyone was taken to the nave. Coats were arranged by size on the pews each pew being a different size, the left section was for female coats the right for male’s. I didn’t find a coat I wanted but it didn’t really bother me. I was looking out of boredom. The woman I went with snagged two then felt guilty as she asked if I thought that it was okay for her to have more than one. I shrugged and told her if the church people had no issue with it then she should keep them.

The need was thick in the air. People raced around looking at coats, their sizes and tried them on. Again I didn’t need one and sat down to wait for the hall to be opened so I could get my food. I sat next to my friend and we talked a bit. In front of me some guy named Michael started blathering me in that way that you know a person is socially inept and willing to talk to anyone. I’m not a snob even though people mistake me for one. I’ve cultivated an affected air of disgruntled annoyance so that people don’t feel free to come up to me and talk. I am a freak magnet and those people who attempt to cling to others and usurp their time like to take advantage of my tolerant nature and tend to overload me with their clinginess. It doesn’t help that in my turn, when I am in a bad episode I can become a freak myself. It may be that people respond to my inner freak but I think it’s that I look like I have my sh!t together and people mistake my self control for confidence.

The tables were arranged in a long legged semicircle that was long and tight. Canned food mostly was grouped by type and I started at one end and picked my way to the other. Like my companion had told me there were some very nice picks to be had. Canned potatoes, hash, tuna, collards (in New England?) and dice tomatoes as well as Packaged pancake mix, mac & cheese, frozen turkey and some fresh fruit. As I tried to repackage my hastily jammed bags I missed grabbing the cherry tomatoes in the little ziplock bag. Oh well.

It’s easy to get carried away. I mean it’s all free. The thing is is that if you return regularly you have to be needy looking enough with out looking greedy. The people on the volunteering end realize that there are needy people and that many times those people have few manners. It still can irk them though when they see people acting like children or animals. They appreciate it when you act with a bit more grace than they are used to seeing. And if you act with decorum you are more likely to be treated as a normal person and less like the dirty unwashed.

I like my boundaries and I do not like them challenged.

At OASIS there are many different people who come in. One is homeless. I knew him when I was younger. I don’t have a problem with a person being homeless. I was homeless a few times and know the desperation and the nomadic style one has to deal with. Unfortunately this particular person has developed the gyp attitude that many permanent derelicts have to survive on the streets and when they have no place to stay. He steals and openly admits to it. He asks for money from everyone, no matter his relationship to them or non-relationship. He asks for favors which can drag out to be long multiple tasks if they are not turned down. He has no problem pushing his agenda onto another and using their time and resources. I have knowledge of this kind of using and it isn’t limited to homeless people. I’ve been around many people who I guess would be called lower-class and there are some that act with this entitled bearing. I’ve learned to limit my interactions with these people. They anger me.

I can’t say I’m a saint. I also can’t say I’m a demon. I can say that I am better than I used to be. I’ve learned to avoid those people who would try to dominate others. I had a hard time saying “no” most of my life. I think that that is common with people who have dealt with sexual abuse and bullying. Developing a healthy self esteem is difficult to do when you’ve been hammered into believing that you’re worthless and weak and you should feel lucky if anyone even gives you the correct time of day without giving you a shitty attitude.

I’m adding this poem by the late great Gil Scott-Heron. I find it ironic that science is being blamed for the draining of finances here in America now that it’s barely being funded at all. Where did it go? Not to human services.

Gil Scott-Heron.

“Whitey on the Moon”

A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face and arms began to swell.
(and Whitey’s on the moon)
I can’t pay no doctor bill.
(but Whitey’s on the moon)
Ten years from now I’ll be paying still.
(while Whitey’s on the moon)
The man just upped my rent last night.
(’cause Whitey’s on the moon)
No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
(but Whitey’s on the moon)
I wonder why he’s upping me?
(’cause Whitey’s on the moon?)
I wuz already paying him fifty a week.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Taxes taking my whole damn check,
Junkies making me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is going up,
An’ as if all that shit was’t enough:
A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face and arm began to swell.
(but Whitey’s on the moon)
Was all that money I made last year
(for Whitey on the moon?)
How come there ain’t no money here?
(Hmm! Whitey’s on the moon)
Y’know I just about had my fill
(of Whitey on the moon)
I think I’ll send these doctor bills,
Airmail special
(to Whitey on the moon)