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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Yes. That end of the stick.


8/13
The day is filled with Dan and Teddy working for Martin painting all the doors and woodwork around the entrance and the studio to try and make a more welcoming place. I really enjoy Dan’s presence. 
Samantha comes in needing a recommendation for a work study program. The recommendation comes easy as I’ve watched her grow and mature over 17 years. Representing us at national church youth meetings, Presbytery meetings, never afraid to speak up. And creative. 
RL wants to talk to the one who really runs things, IE, still trying to get his rehearsal place and studio together. 
No Bible Study tonight. The chapel is currently a work room. And I want to try and catch a performance of Matthew Webster’s Kingdom Come, which he rehearsed at West-Park but I never got to see because of an emergency meeting. 
8/14
While Nate and I are waiting in the line for Shakespeare in the Park tickets for Into the Woods, I get a call from Dan. Apparently it’s been a rough start to the morning and he needs to talk with me as soon as I  get there. And is there any way we can get Teddy tickets? (Well, actually, no....)
As soon as I get there, Dan comes in. Teddy had earlier encountered Edward and Charlotte pissing on the steps. As he turned the corner, he encountered a fresh deposit of feces, right where the dancers would  have to come in. (Dan was watching all this) A 9-11 call went in .Because Teddy wanted  the police to see what  was going on. But after an hour, they still hadn’t shown up and Martin needed a path cleared. 
As Teddy was beginning, they showed up again. As he tells it, in a straight forward way, he said, Look, I’m cleaning up your shit, would you maybe help me out?  And what followed included a series of fuck yous and other curses along with spit hurled at Teddy. And Teddy lost it. (Been there.) Dan said he’d never seen Teddy so angry. (Been there, too) And said to him, Teddy, just chill, just chill....and then she gets up in his face to challenge him and he looks at her and walks away. (Later he says, ah she was just posturin.’ ) Then Dan and Teddy begin the arduous task of clean up. Martin chips in to buy a hose. One that can stretch from the basement all the way to the steps. We haven’t had that in years. At one point, Dan thought Teddy was ready to turn the hose on the couple. And they quickly took off. 
Scrubbing. Clorox. Pine sol. They even did the walls. Time that could have been used moving forward, 2 1/2 hours, taken up by having to fight the way back to status quo. 
And as he works, Teddy gets angrier. We’ve got other people in the house and he consistently winds up with the shot end of the stick. (Literally) And he’s fed up with it. And wind sup going off for a nap. 
Dan is kind of shaken by all this. Has lots of questions. About sharing work. Accountability. Responsibilities. The nature of homelessness. Why we haven’t gone like BJ and SPSA and put up No Trespassing signs. Yet. (Well, no one’s set the steps on  fire yet, like at SPSA...) I wish I had more answers for him.
As for the accountability issue, that’s up to Danielle and I to get people to honor their agreements. And all should  share equally. I’m happy to hear Danielle talk about the steps. An effort to show some modicum and compassion in a neighborhood that increasingly would just like to ignore the homeless population. The mentally ill and addicts. They don’t fit the expectations of those who are trying to recreate Westchester in the Upper Westside.  I’m sorry but in this time, this is a part of what make a city a city. To choose city living is to choose complexity and being disturbed. You can’t wish it away. 
And we tell Dan that 80% of those we meet (more or less) have found housing or a rehab program through the work of our Project Outreach friends. We couldn’t do this without their help. The goal is to not close the steps but to not surrender the either. Another thin line. 
Later Teddy has rested and come down for conversation. Steven agrees to get some more help for the morning clean up and crap patrol. And at the first sign of Edward, call 911. And if they don’t show, call again. I’ve experienced enough of alcoholism to know that when it gets to this stage,  the situation is critical. I remember  the day last year when Edward had me call him an ambulance. When it arrived, he hugged me as he entered the back. 
Back outside, the Prophet is struggling to stay awake.

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