It is safe to say I am not the poster boy for patience these days. Things I’d normally let roll off my shoulders are being snapped at.
There are a few stressors at the moment. I have to leave where I am living as a member of my landlord’s family needs the home. My landlords have, for these past nine years, proved themselves to be the greatest landlords in the world. I am also on disability with a sprinkling of money here and there for writing along with the occasional speech; there is a reason there is no fancy car in the driveway. Truth is I wouldn’t want one anyway no matter the state of my revenue.
Thinking I was moving to Herkimer County New York we switched my NY TBI Waiver benefits there and now, given that the deal for the house we’d hope to buy looks to be dead in the water, I find myself without rent or utility subsidies and despite the fact I may be moving to a place close to my current home, I am dealing with a state Department of Health that will likely make it impossible to regains the subsidies. Those of us on the TBI Waiver are having their services sliced and diced and, in too many cases, entirely denied by a DOH that essentially creates regulations on the fly and doesn’t even follow what few regulations they have set forth in the manual they wrote.
Moreover, because of the presumed move to another county, there are, for this month, no food stamps. So, a for man who has been homeless before, hospitalized twice for hunger pains, the pressure is on. While intellectually I know I will not wind up homelessness, I think it fair and accurate to say that once you have experienced real homelessness in your life, its specter is always near. Along with this, my body, normally an ally, has paid the price. Nights are fairly packed with back spasms which strike sporadically throughout the day as well.
This too shall pass, as they say and I know that. I have been reading some good books, having, I am ashamed to say, started reading John Dos Passos for the first time this year (a staggeringly brave and brilliant writer).
Having said all this, now is not a good time for someone to give me any grief. Some years ago someone I was working with said, “You’re a tough guy you know.” I was mortified! To me tough guy meant bully and not only have I never been a bully I have always been the one who has looked to take on the bully. I took my mortification to my friend and sister in my heart, Judy.
“You got a minute?” I asked.
“Sure,” she said, sitting down, smiling.
“Am I a tough guy?”
“Yeah. Tough guy. Like in bully.”
“You’re not a bully, no. But you are a tough guy.”
“What do you mean?” More mortification.
“You don’t take any shit from people.”
Now that I could live with. And it’s true, I don’t take any shit.