Two weeks ago the word homeless had never even crossed my mind. On the streets, living rough, dispossessed, destitute, without a roof over your head, down and out. No matter how you say it, there is a stigma attached. These are the people who wake up to an empty bottle of Old English800 malt liquor and ask you for a dollar. They are the one’s who shot up the last of their heroin last night. Their thoughts flooded with the sicknesses they will feel if they cannot find some more soon.
When I see someone on the streets I always think about the idea that they did not start out under the bridge. I give them my dollar, and if they want to buy crack and not an orange I have no problem with that. The dollar I give has no strings attached. I may not know how they got there, but I am starting to understand how the world looks at you differently when you get here. Suddenly we are” those people”. Those people just went through some shit so fast and crazy it has become impossible to explain.
If anyone in my family actually stopped to give someone a quarter, it would be with a lecture. Do not buy crack dear, you put yourself here so you need to get yourself out. Never mind dear, I am taking back my quarter, you need to help yourself. Do I get the quarter after that? Bad luck, stupid decisions, God’s humor, and whatever good old Karma has in store can hit you at once. You are spun into a different world before you realize anything happened. Would you be able to survive? Maybe even thrive? This is an ongoing story that started two weeks ago. I have no idea how or when it will end. Sitting here in a hotel room in Scottsdale, AZ with my husband, son and two dogs on the first day of 2013 is not something to write about. How we got” here”, and what happens while we navigate through it just might be.
The day of our great escape I sat at a McDonald’s with my son watching a video on YouTube with my lap top. My husband had gone back to get our two dogs, I was not about to go back into that hell. The events of the last 24 hours had been so intense I felt like I was on the run from something I could not see. We had no money, no bank account, no credit card and no plan. I just found out my parents were on a “you need to help yourself” kick. I had not spoken to them in a year and told them I would only ask for something if it was for my son. The few frantic messages I left three people at 9am were returned in an email with the encouraging words of “you have a real mess going on there, you need to help yourself”. Really??, you cannot call? My father, who used to freak out if I did not answer the phone before it went to voice mail, was now sending me an email at 4pm. He had no idea what we had just gone through. Come to find out it would not have made a difference.
I was aware of the “sorry no help for you” that my parents created was probably going to include a few more people in my family, so I called my best friend. All she said is where are you? I told her Scottsdale Rd. After a few clicks of her mouse in Colorado, she had booked us into the Hilton Double Tree Paradise Valley. That is a friend that knows nothing except you just went through some shit. That is has spun you so far, you need something better than a motel six to land on. I will always appreciate those first few nights. It showed me my son did not have to lose his dogs to a rescue and go stay with my sister. His Idiot parents did not have to climb back up from the lowest place they could be shoved into. The half way house would have to wait. It was a week before Christmas and I thought that plan was insane. I had no idea the insanity would spread so far and so fast that it would change our entire lives.
Walking into the Doubletree I had a fleeting thought about the no credit card situation I was currently in. I thought, this is a messed up situation, they should understand what happened. I mean, I am the mother of the twelve-year-old boy whose life has been turned upside down and spun around so much; he will never be the same. Is that not what the programs on the Hallmark Channel are made from? I am starting to think my life might be on a different channel than Hallmark. Maybe more like Showtime or Comedy Central.
I tell the front desk my name. The room is paid for, but they are still going to need a credit card for “incidentals”. I tell her I do not have one. I wait for that to click in her pretty little head, we are in Scottsdale after all. She says no problem, we can also take twenty-five in cash. While that is considerably cheap, that is also an issue for me at the moment. She cannot wave that fee, however the manager has that power, he will be back after his “lunch” at 6:30pm. Would I like a warm chocolate chip cookie and a fresh bottle of water while I wait?