Seven Months In Port Townsend.

It took me all of fifty-five years to get here, but I’m glad I did. Port Townsend is turning out to be quite the villa. It’s quiet, relatively safe, and most importantly, lacking in the drugs I used to abuse years ago. What I’ve been learning to do lately is leave my past behaviors behind. In the past, for instance, I was a generally paranoid person. I locked my windows and doors every time I left the house. Hell, I even kept the windows locked when I was inside the house because I thought someone would climb in during the night when I was sleeping. In Port Townsend, I don’t have to worry about these things. I leave my door unlocked most of the time, even when I’m out of the house like now, and even leave my car doors unlocked. Tonight, when I go to bed, I’m gonna keep all the windows open. This part is still a little nerve wracking to me because I live on the first floor of my apartment complex. If I was on one of the upper floors, that wouldn’t be an issue. Still, I have to get used to having the windows open at night, too, especially these days when it’s pretty hot outside.

I recently indulged myself in a 55″ UHD 4K Roku TV by TCL. The picture is like a giant postcard – clear, bright and ultra colorful. Movies look great on it. Unfortunately, my internet connection is poor so I can’t stream movies as effectively as I’d like. I might get Wave Broadband internet later this year, we’ll see. Right now they have a special for $19.99/month, but after six months, it’ll be $69.99. That’s a little too dear for me considering my rent is $737/month. I mean, I can pay the $69.99/month, but that’s really cutting into my SSDI money which I’d rather save for the future (being unpredictable, as you may know). For now, though, I’m just enjoying being domiciled. I mean, after five long years of homelessness, it’s nice to be able to finally get some well-needed sleep.

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Finally! An End to My Homelessness.

After nearly five years of homelessness, I might finally move into a one bedroom apartment in Port Townsend at a retirement complex reserved for those over 62 years old or disabled. This should happen in a month or so to the tune of $950/mo. That’s a bit expensive given I only receive around $1270/mo but the complex does provide tenants with breakfast and dinner as well as all utilities. In the end, it may work out.

I’ve been feeling suicidal lately and it’s why I haven’t written in my blog much. I just want to sleep all day, if I could. Very difficult when you’re homeless, though, especially now when it’s sunny all the time and finding a good, quiet shaded spot is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I’m sleep deprived, and that’s what’s driving my depression. I’m also losing weight, but that’s not a complaint. I want to be lighter and have more energy. If I can reverse my diabetes, good, even if it means me having to stop taking Abilify, the anti-psychotic I’m on that can contribute to both binge eating and problem gambling.

Speaking of problem gambling, I’ve lost quite a few bits of change at two casinos near here – The Point and 7 Cedars. Technically, they’re not near here. The Point is 35 miles away in Kingston and 7 Cedars is 25 miles in Blyn near Sequim. One night, I was so drunk I blacked out in a parking lot in Port Townsend and work up at the Indian Arts Center across the street from 7 Cedars. Talk about unsafe! I don’t remember driving the 25 miles to get there. Obviously, I did it in a complete haze. Very dangerous. I woke up vomiting, looked around, saw a giant Native American sign and thought, “What the hell? There is no place with a sign like this in Port Townsend.” That’s when I realized I wasn’t in PT anymore. Scary. The drink was whiskey, I think. Never again, though. I learned my lesson. I could’ve crashed or hit somebody.

Lastly, on a positive note, I spoke to the local hospital’s financial aid center and they agreed I was poor enough that they would cover my hospital expenses. Sweet. That’s one less worry off my mind, especially since I just spent $200 fixing my car (new battery, cables). Now, if I could only find a quiet place to get some sleep.

Racism

In my journey in trying to find a place to live, a city, town or village I can call home, I have to be mindful of the fact that racism can rear its ugly little head from time to time. Typically, small towns have a conservative mindset and may not be readily accepting of outsiders. I do like small towns, though, because its far away from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities and you can breathe easily there and, in my case, lack the substances I was addicted to for years.

But racism doesn’t exist solely in small towns; large cities like Seattle, New York, Boston, Nashville, Portland and L.A. have also sprouted incidents that would shock any decent living person back to the Stone Ages. In fact, where in America can someone be immune from racism? These days that’s probably an impossible proposition but I’m hoping a small, liberal-minded, artistic, immigrant-welcoming town like Port Townsend would fit the bill.

So far I’ve been exposed to incidents in this town that smacks of racism, and interestingly, both relate to Obama. In the first incident, I overheard two women speaking at a bar. One woman said, very clearly, that Obama did nothing in his eight years in office but fund ISIS. That’s just her opinion, of course, but it speaks volumes. In the second incident, a police cruiser was speeding up a main drag, its lights flashing and siren blaring. This man came up to me and asked, “Do you know where the cops are going?” I answered, “No.” He said, “They’re going after Obama because he’s busy fucking himself, and Hilary’s helping him do it.” Well, to me, that’s a strange statement for a white man to make to a black man out of the blue, but I could be wrong. At least the owner of the pickup truck I took the picture of in Port Hadlock is doing his best to address racism. Kudos to him.

You know what I’ve begun to notice in Port Townsend? I’ve run into at least four people who speak in word salad, what Wikipedia calls logorrhea. They just go on and on speaking incoherent gibberish which, to them, must make sense, but to other people, is just mindless one-sided conversation that could make one’s head explode. As soon as they think they’ve found an audience (that is, me) they unload every single idea that pops up in their minds. Very tiring, to say the least. Maybe they’re schizophrenic, or aspie like myself, or suffer from brain damage. Whatever it is, I hope it doesn’t happen to me. Then again, if it did, I wouldn’t be aware of it. Somehow, though, I get the feeling that if I stick around here, it’ll happen eventually. Yikes!

 

Do Advocates For The Homeless Actually Keep Our Numbers Up?

I’ve been reading in different places online that administrators, and other people in charge of eradicating homelessness, actually don’t do that because they’re making six-figure salaries, and housing the homeless would mean an end to their careers. If that’s true, what a shame. I hope some kind of outside authority investigates that, but I fear that this level of corruption could possibly lead even to the mayor’s office. Obviously, I can’t just walk into a homeless advocacy office and ask to see their numbers, their track record of placing the homeless in housing. It’s probably quite poor and they would never admit it’s just a scam. Making money off the city’s most vulnerable. Isn’t that a shame? Later on today I’ll write to some of those concerned and see what they say. In my heart I know what they’ll write will be nothing but smoke and mirrors. Maybe I won’t waste my time and just celebrate St. Patrick’s Day drinking green beer like everyone else.

First Time In Bellingham

Vincent, a friend from the Port Townsend Winter Shelter, and I drove up to Bellingham two days ago. We were only going to spend a day but it’s turning into three. Since he’s paying for our days at a Motel 6, I’m not complaining. Yesterday, while he was resting in the motel to rendezvous with his baby mama and daughter, I drove up to Aldergrove, Canada. They gave me grief at Customs because they don’t want any homeless people from America in Canada. Some nerve. I told the man it wasn’t my intention. After his thorough grilling, he let me in. I was so pissed that, when I got to Aldergrove, I went into a Pizza Hut, bought a small order of bread sticks, and drove straight back to the US. That was my 2nd time in Canada. I’d went to Montreal about 12 years ago. My experience was much more positive back then. I was even waiting in Customs with Parliament-Funkadelic while their backgrounds got clearance.

Bellingham is turning out to be a positive experience – lots of restaurants and shops, amicable people, night spots, gay-friendly joints, and various sites with incredible views of the city. I did notice some police activity, one even involving rifle-armed officers leaping out of their unmarked cars ordering the members of their target car to the ground. Vincent says these are rare sights; I’ll take his word for it. I did briefly think about relocating here so I gave a looksee into the Housing Authority. The regular apartments are expensive so, like Seattle or Port Townsend, I’d have to go the subsidized route. As it turns out, there are no studio or one bedroom vacancies; those waiting lists aren’t even open. And since I don’t qualify for a two or three bedroom abode, I’m SOL in the subsidized market. In other words, I’ll just keep my focus on PT for now, and that’s too bad because one of Bellingham’s selling point is their plethora of Asian restaurants, and the fact they even have a Punjabi lunch buffet bistro. What could be cooler than that?

Two things I did notice which leaves a bad taste in my mouth are the illogically laid-out roads and the stifling traffic throughout the city. From the outset, Bellingham seems crowded; it is full of college students, so I expect that. However, I’ve already ran into the occasional careless/aggressive/impatient driver. Some of the intersections leave a lot to be desired, too, as they seem confusing up close. Also, because of the large amount of construction going on, several detours around the city makes navigating through here a bigger challenge than it should be. At least I-5 is relatively accessible here. That makes driving around a bit easier.

One Month In Port Townsend

Port Townsend is a boat building, Victorian, seaside arts community that is popular with the retirement set. I’ve been here for one month and so far I have mixed feelings about it. Some people I’ve run into are outright friendly; others give me the feeling that they’re undercover racists but are too ball-less to show it. I could be wrong; wouldn’t be the first time, but that gnawing feeling one gets when one is stared at by strangers in public emporiums and other places seems to invade my thoughts negatively every so often. I’m holding out hope that, being homeless, I’m just accidentally running into the dregs of society and things will take a turn for the positive once I’m domiciled.

As far as the city proper is concerned, it is a small town so I wasn’t expecting wall to wall excitement. There are a lot of parks around, enough so that I can find places to doze off, in my car or out. They have quite a few restaurants, too. The problem here is they’re all expensive. Average meals range in price from $10 to $14 as opposed to Seattle where I’m used to $7 to $12. The two libraries I’ve been to are par for the course. Architecture here is great if you’re into that sort of thing. Crime isn’t frequent or intense here. About four to six people end up in jail every day because of crimes like drug possession, misdemeanor assaults and driving violations. I did notice an apartment complex that, while not ghetto, did seem ghetto-ish from outside. It has a pretty name, too: Nor’West Village. My name is on their wait list but I hope they don’t pick me.

The beaches here are pristine, almost as if no human has ever set foot on them. That was a surprise given how people love to graffiti and litter at every opportunity. I’m still in the shelter and probably will be for the next month or two. I try to come in late and leave early as much as I can because some of the clients rub me the wrong way. There is no lack of negative personalities here, that’s for sure. Next week I’m driving down to Poulsbo to pick up my bi-pap machine; people complain a lot here about my snoring so the machine should help. So far, I’m surviving. Things could be better, things could be worse. I’ll give the city another a month or two. If things don’t start looking up I may reconsider shooting back to Seattle. We’ll see.

Ciao, Port Townsend.

I’ve been staying in the shelter in Port Townsend for about a week. Since it’s closed during the day, I use the free time to set up my mailing address, put in several housing applications, find quiet streets to doze off in my car when I’m tired, find places to hang out during the day (The Boiler Room, the Public Library, Fort Worden State Park) and set up medical care at Jefferson Healthcare. I learned something new this week – I have sleep apnea. The residents at the shelter alerted me to my loud snoring and irregular sleeping patterns and encouraged me to have a pulmonologist check it out. It seems I might have to start sleeping with a CPAP machine due to a lower jaw that’s shorter than normal, a wider than normal neck, and narrow throat passageways which makes breathing during sleep difficult. It seems like if it’s not one thing, it’s another. So far, Port Townsend is agreeing with me. I like it here even though I’ve only been here for nine days. Like the sound outside of town says, this is an arts community. I should blend in like a flake in a snowstorm. And that would suit me just fine.