Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ROW 80 DAY 47 – A TYPICAL DAY IN TAMPA?


I had to put off writing my 750 words or 80 rows or whatever this is, because I had to go to my psychiatrist’s office today. The fact that I had to do this when I’m not scheduled to see her is a ridiculous story in itself. I take a concoction of stuff that keeps me from weirding out and hurting people. I have been taking some of these drugs for close to two years and they work. The down side, of course, is if you run out, or the assholes of the State of Florida or Big Pharma decide to get pissy and cut you off, there go your meds. You have to continue your regimen or who knows what will happen? In many cases, people become so depressed they become suicidal. In my case, I go nuclear and all hell breaks loose. I’m pretty close to it right now anyway; it’s a continual juggling act. How much meds are not enough and how much are too much. Throw in a bit of Parkinson’s and you all of a sudden have a game changer. So, I have a bipolar cat-fight going on in my head and I’m doing a soft-shoe down to the bus stop.

Early last week, when I called the Psychiatrist’s office to find out if my Cymbalta had been sent in for Lilly, she snapped, “You probably didn’t get approved. Just because you got it last year, doesn’t mean you’ll get it this year!” and she hangs up the phone. $%)@#$(@ What the fuck was that? So, I call the other number and get the main office and find that in fact, the paperwork was sent late but it’s okay. I had given this to them in plenty of time so I wouldn’t run out of my homicide pills. Great. Now, I have about 10 days of medicine left and my next appointment isn’t until September 27. Beheadings will ensue if I don’t get my Cymbalta. Fortunately, Kelly tells me that she will be in the office I go to (there are 5 and mine is closest to me, natch) on August 28 from 1 to 5 pm and I can get 6 weeks worth then.

Of course, all this conversation occurs before Isaac decided to come to town and then stand us up at the altar. So, I head out today to the bus stop on Nebraska Ave. I no sooner get to the bus stop and what do I see? A stretch limousine passes me, oozing north, checking out… constituents? Votes? I’m guessing he’s not there to take a straw poll. I figure by tonight it’s going to look like a Hollywood Premiere; bumper-to-bumper stretch limos. This is the place to be seen and get arrested. Darryl Strawberry got picked up around here somewhere. So did Dwight Gooden, either for drug possession and/or prostitution.

Weirdness. I have become my own meme or something. I was playing around on Twitter last night and @dceiver (WARNING: SHAMELESS PLUG-FOLLOW HIM; HE'S A HOOT!) tweeted something about the great, friendly bartenders with a link. I tweeted back, "are you here for the convention, or in N.O. for the hurricane?" He tweeted back, “I’m in Tampa, wish I were in N.O.” I clicked on his link for the bar he was currently visiting. He was 7 blocks from me at the time. The world is closing in and we don’t always realize it.

So, back on earth, here I am waiting for the bus and here comes white Will, the drug dealer, not to be confused with Willie on a bike, black Willie and the 100 other Wills and Willies who push dope in 4 square blocks. I really don’t understand the economics of this. How in the hell can anyone make a dime? What do they do, sell crack to each other? I see a bunch of hand signals between Will and some dude on a bike across the street. Another happy customer. Will tells me, apropos of nothing, “I’m going home now.” We are acquainted through the homeless shelter. Will still looks homeless. He may be for all I know. People tend to be vague around here, usually by design.

So, off we ride to MLK Boulevard, where I change buses. I have to wait for quite a while. Isaac has seen fit to grace us with a few gentle showers, interspersed with sponge-like heat. The bus is about 57 years late because of all this RNC bullshit. There are also stealth, or counterfeit buses out here and they’re pissing me off. About 700 of these huge double-decker white jobs with their lights on keep trundling by. I keep thinking they’re HART buses and they’re these damned convention buses. Go die, buses. A truck keeps running up and down MLK. I have dubbed it the ROMNEY NOMO Mobile. It’s basically just a flatbed truck with “Romney Go Away” stuff on it. I flash the guy a thumbs-up the first 50 times he cruises up and down. Now, he’s boring. Go away Romney mobile.

Oh, look. They’re letting the homeless sell their newspapers today. Probably Tampa wants to show the RNC how much of a damn it gives about the homeless. I dodge traffic to get to a little lady who’s in the median, sweating trying to sell her newspaper. The papers are a dollar each. This way, they can earn some money. I give her two dollars and tell her to sell the rest of her papers. They only get so many to sell; panhandling is illegal. I tell her I was homeless and how it sucked. I smile. She smiles back and it’s a huge, wide smile.

Oh shit, here comes the bus; I dodge traffic, and run back and hop on the bus. No further adventures, with the exception of me telling Kelly in the Psychiatrist’s office that they have a lot of nerve hiring a receptionist with a personality disorder to work in a doctor’s office that specializes in personality disorders. Kelly agrees that this is problematic. But Kelly is very nice and knows I’m not angry with her. She brings me my medicine to tide me over until I have my next appointment.

On the way home, I stop at Sweet Bay and pick up a few things. I click-clack my way with whackamole out to the bus and at the bus shelter, there’s a wheelchair and a guy who is sitting on the shelter bench beside his wheelchair. He looks unconscious. He’s also unkempt, filthy and I can smell him from where I’m standing, which is a good 5 feet away. I raise my voice. “Hey. Are you all right?” Eye blink. Mumble. “No.” “Well, what’s wrong with you?” He’s going to start a litany, I can tell. “Well, I got this broken foot.” Me, “Well, are you drunk? On drugs? Are you dying? Well, we’re all going to die some day, I mean, are you dying right now? Do you want me to call somebody?” Eyes wide. Mumble Me, “What?” Him, “Be careful.” Me. “No, THEY need to be careful of me and they know it. I will beat people to death and I’ve been Baker-acted.” 2 other people are watching and not sure what to make of this. I say, “You need to take care. I’m fine.”

The bus comes, I get on and see white Will, again. Apparently, he was tired of sitting at home. I don't ask. I ride to my last stop. I’m thinking about what it means to be poor and homeless and live in poverty. Just because I became homeless, didn’t mean I had to stay that way. I am one who used the system the way it was designed to be used. That is what public assistance is for. It is also for families to be able to feed their children nutritious food, not for welfare mothers to fritter away money for tattoos or drugs, or for men to buy their crack. I understand that part of the argument. What I don’t understand is the driving need to cut every last red cent from all of these programs that can help make us a stronger country and help people get educations, jobs and back on their feet. It is through the Federal and States’ own laxness and carelessness that money goes where it isn’t needed, so rather than really care and spend time to fix it, let’s just throw it all out. What happens to the fabric of our society it that occurs? It will be shredded.

The last encounter of the day as I was returning home; a “friend” of my former roommate, a drunk, a player and a user named Tony was going to “help” me carry my few groceries home. I cannot stand this man. My former roommate loved him and she never understood or cared to see how little he regarded her. I told him today as he tried to take my packages, “No. Tony, you are not my friend. You were never my friend. I hated the way you treated Opal. You lied to her, took her money.” Tony, drunk, stood there dumbfounded. “What did I do to you?” I said, “Nothing, it’s what you did to Opal.” I turned and left him there.


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