Tuesday, July 8, 2014

At least Thomas got his identity back: what it takes to feel human


A group has come in wanting to set up a table to promote their new Montessori School. On the one hand, why not? On the other, how does that help us?

The two young men from Dzieci come in still looking to perform their own vision of Cymbeline in August. We have to get someone  to aggressively pursue rentals so that we can still find space and time for young artists to pursue their dreams. Dream.Real. Hard., the Center’s mission.

A man for Texas, Thomas, comes in. He’s lost his wallet. His bankcard. Driver’s license. All ID. Feels like he’s become a non-person. Can he use West-Park as a mailing address so that his mother can send replacements? Danielle is wary.I explain that back in the day, that was a basic ministry of West-Park in the ‘80’s, serving as an address for homeless people who needed to be able to reconnect. So we agree.

Midafternoon, I have to ask a half naked man to leave the steps. It is getting mad hot out.

David S may be facing hip surgery. Dion comes in. His workplace has reorganized and his job was eliminated. But his spirits are high. There must be a place for him.

Time with RL. Seems like the hip hop group here late is subletting from Martin. There are security issues to deal with. But more importantly, I hear his broader concerns. Things seem to be drifting at the moment. Like a ship in the doldrums. Nothing seems to be happening. Regardless of what might be happening, I agree. Energy creates energy. Action creates action. Movement forward creates momentum. I need to set some things in motion here.


Stephen S, or Santiago, as RL calls him, in to work. I’m always glad to see him.
When I arrived today, Keith was asleep on the steps. Looking scary bad. Thin and wasted. And half-dressed. Keith, what’s up? Why are you here? I heard you were back at __________.

Nah that place is too nerve wracking. I’m gonna see my doctor tomorrow. Get him to put me in the hospital. I can’t take this anymore.

Why don’t I call 9-11 now? You’re not looking so good…
Nah. Call my doctor, first thing tomorrow. He’ll put me in.
OK, so you know the drill. You know you can’t sleep here during the day.
Yes sir, I know that pastor. I’m not your problem, it’s those other guys.
But right now, it’s you who’s here.
Yes sir, you know I know. I’ll be OK.

I go in. Open up the doors. Get to work.

Brian T, my bicoastal friend, wants to talk. Wants to add the church to his insurance as a beneficiary. I thank him for that.

Thomas R from Texas outside. His mom sent his stuff. Expects it will come tomorrow. I tell him I’ll keep my eyes open. When I go back inside, there’s a big Fed X envelope. For Thomas R. Return address, Texas. I race back outside, hoping he’s still there. He is.

Is this what you’re looking for?

He looks at the envelope. Smiles. Yes it is. Here let me show you…
You don’t need to…

But the envelope is open. And it’s all there. ID. Bank card.
I feel like I’ve rejoined the human race, he says.
I tell this to Danielle. She smiles. You were  right, she says. Mom came through. I say. She must’ve responded immediately.
Keith comes in,agitated. Asks Danielle to leave. Has a long story about how he has a plan. Can’t stand looking at himself in the mirror. Can’t rejoin the marines. Can’t look his daughter in the eye. Has a plan. There’s an open invitation to fight Mixed Martial Arts/World Wrestling Entertainment’s most dangerous man in America, Ken Shamrock at the Nassau Coliseum in  August. Anyone who lasts 3 rounds can win $25000.
I have to do it, pastor. I’ve got 20 friends and my daughter saying don’t do it. But I have to. So I can get her a decent wedding present. So I can look at myself in he mirror again. Know I’ve got my balls back. Am I scared? I’m scared shitless, but I got to do it. Will you pray for me? They may carry me out, but they’ll carry me out as a warrior. I’ll be a man…

There’s more than  one way to be a man.

No. But I got to do this. I’ll get the living shit kicked out of  me, but I’ve got to do this. Just pray I live. And no brain damage. And then I’ll go home…

Go home now. Or go to the hospital, then go home…

No. I go to do this. Just promise me you’ll pray for me.
I promise. I shake his hand. He swaggers off to talk to Danielle.

I wish he wouldn’t make me a stand in for every woman in his life, she says. Makes me uncomfortable.

I wish everything  he said didn’t sound like a script from a bad movie, I say.

Yeah,if lines were  a little better, he’d be a good character in a Coen brothers movie. She says.

That feels about right, I say. Who’s writing ours?
And we talk about our favorite Coen brothers  movies. Hers? No country for old men. Me? Fargo. O brother. And here we are in one.

At least Thomas got his identity back.

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