I’ve been in the “new” shelter for about a month now, and things here work very slowly here. Like they’re in no rush to get you into housing (Week 3 of Social Worker will be to photocopy my passport and SS#, last week, my PyschoSocial, week before, GETTING TO KNOW YOU, GETTING TO KNOW NOTHING ABOUT YOU…). To add to the insult, I was actually punished for I don’t know what, by being transferred here instead of to the transitional housing. Even the evening case manger was shocked I was being “sent down” She asked if I had ‘broken curfew’ (I had not.) So here I am, I have a lovely Park Avenue address, starting the whole fucking process over again, and 64 roommates with varying degrees of mental illness from none to “holy shit! take your meds”.
There is a down side to being in a shelter: You get comfortable. No rent, no board, no worries about money for laundry, the beds are comfortable. No pressure to get even a part-time job if you aren’t already working, like a few of us there. It’s a trap for truly lazy people. I realized the “trap” when I first referred to the shelter as “home”.
So, here it is, August 22, 2011 and in the intervening weeks, there have been several verbal altercations and one actual physical confrontation between two women, one who was baiting the other who is a belligerent drunk. fist flew, they hit the ground, and the caseworker just stood there observing as we pulled the women apart and held them back. The woman who was attacked, first grabbed a can of hairspray to use as a weapon, then a cane, and finally a set of keys. They removed the victim, and left the belligerent drunk in the dorm to threaten to kill all of us. Cops came, listened to what occurred, and left. No one was arrested, No one was removed from the shelter. So much for rules. Did I mention one of the combatants is banging of the male staffers?
So, here we are today, sitting in the 5th floor common room, watching getting dusted (inspection is coming!!!) the ladies piss and moan and draw their faces on. One is pissed that her purse and meds were taken yesterday and was complaining to the “indigenous” bigot. Wish I could snap her putting her lips on: outlines in a dark shade, and fills it with an obscene shade of pink. There’s a 2:00 pm “Light-Love-Laugh” meeting for a self-help/image program run by a Mission. I have yet to see a single outside program that did not involve a Cross. Isn’t this a SECULAR shelter?
The “indigenous” bigot was going off again. This time, after saying that more first nations served than Jews in WWII (did a bit of research, and lo! 500,00 American Jews served, 11,000 died, as opposed to 25,000 first nation people), was paying for people there, and when I confronted her about my paying taxes, she said she is paying taxes too (yeah right). A voice from the ironing board told her to get a job, wherein she said she doesn’t have to work, or take any form of aid, she then went on to claim she makes $700,000/year, and was swindled out of millions by a “Jew investment advisor”, is waiting to collect an inheritance because she doesn’t want to “share it with her soon to be ex-husband”, and Oh, she also has multiple advanced degrees. While we were watching Rachel Ray, she was going an about how superior her upbringing was including diet, and no tv. Body language shows she’s holding a lot of shit in.
Another woman, who came in two weeks ago, was initially all passive and “scared” and said she had no money for a lock, so I bought her one. She said her daughter would pay me for it, and what do you know? She’s now highly aggressive and somewhat belligerent, when she was told someone else was in line to do laundry, she more or less said “fuck them, I’M DOING MY LAUNDRY!!!!!!” and started cursing in Spanish, which I ignored til the word “ñetas” was uttered. The “Netas” are a drug gang. A rather violent gang out of Puerto Rico.
Makes me wonder if she’s hiding out in the shelter, like the bank robber, Rose Perez did.