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Urban Survival

IMID Commentary

When I was asked to leave one apartment because I wasn't welcome there, I chose to live in my mother's car to find places where I could sleep that were discreet, like spots near the river. It was a cold winter, and camping wasn't necessary, but the car didn't provide much comfort and the storage facility ended up with an awful lot of my money due to fees that I found unreasonable. Eventually, I found a new apartment, but by this time had established a pattern of behavior that I believe wasn’t welcome and dealing with harassment and drug use in my breathing space intended to correct my effort to report the behavior.

It's possible that a previous case brought by another client named Shessa from another State may have inspired a confrontation to teach me just how difficult it is to live with smokers polluting our air, so when I appealed to Legal Aid, they simply declined to provide any help despite the recurring circumstance in building after building after building.

And on one occasion, as I wheeled a dolly with a broken wheel out over the door jam from an entryway to the sidewalk leading to a Greenway below, part of my AI project went crashing to the ground. So the broken bulb, which served as an eye and pieces of the structure I used to fashion my version of Mechanical Mary, dragged behind while a hundred people or more from the hospital beside my building watched. I had no other way to get my things to the new storage facility, a mile or two further down the bike path below other than by using the dolly to wheel them there. I couldn't afford a truck and didn't know where I would live, but the garden I tended was right next door with a tool shed and water tanks to rely upon, so I started out my new relocation by sleeping there for the first two weeks or so.

A new facility for special needs clients called Cedars Rising resulted from the removal of our theater company and the garden for our food bus from its old location by the railroad tracks to the lot where I planned to stay. I was well acquainted with it after planting and watering that year for our orgs. Apparently, my kind of Special Need, to stay sane and sober had fallen out of favor (or my objections to the threats we live with weren't welcome).

But I was soon discovered in the vacant lot too, and someone ramming my lean-to with what sounded like a motorcycle, or RV, forced me to bug out for Buffalo on a path along the Great Lakes. It wasn't a long ride on the train and I liked the fact that it was near the birthplace of modern electricity. Love Canal, Edison, Tesla and the modern power plants had a very special appeal for me in that area.

A shell of the modern art deco city it once was, with CGI suites in shopping malls serving to fabricate what once was didn’t really work for me. And walking by public venues that were only open if guests were inside caused me to wonder if any would open up for me. I wasn't able to find housing other than a room above a bar that I couldn’t afford and strangers making strange proposals were worrisome, so I returned to find a new place to camp.

So following a creek under a rock quarry where the waters ran milky white I found a place to pitch my tent next to a patch of poison ivy. Some of the grounds I found and stayed in for short periods of time were so foul, the smell was unbearable and this spot was cool and comfortable. Deer aren’t affected by the toxic effects of poison ivy, and I could get in and out by following the stream, so when a fawn took a liking to me, the buck alongside snorted his disgust with the light from my bluetooth headset, which apparently he could see at night. I learned to keep it turned off before I arrived and live with the myriad spiders and mayflies at that location (some of which I swallow inadvertently because they like warm moist environments, including mouths and nasal passages).

Mayflies under the moonlight - only an inch or two above the ground were graceful over the water, presumably out of an effort to find a midnight snack, but the kindness shown by the fawn replaced my previous predatory fascination with finding doe moving slowly in the river.

There was no sexual contact, but I was delighted by the give and take between us regardless and my preoccupation with the visualization of an ideal partner was replaced by a compassionate frolic with wildlife for a while. Though I’m sure I did not seek a sexual focus on the vulnerable creature (I didn’t even know if the fawn was male or female), it became obvious that his or her spontaneous reaction to me and my trespass was loving, which was something I hadn’t seen for a very long time.

Unfortunately, the nature I left behind wasn’t fully gone when I returned and visions of the fawn's eye in a parked car below my window broke my heart. Then later, perhaps by some strange feature of my profession, I could see butcher lines mapped out his/her hide and the scene of what appeared to be my step-father slaughtering the poor creature hanging upside-down in my kitchen.

And shocking to me at that time, when I went back to the food shelf to make ends meet, they had Venison in the freezer. Perhaps this is why some spiritual communities refuse to accept assistance from some patrons and we chose not to ask for more than we need. One of the bodyworkers asked me to help with her miscarriage in a paper napkin, but she may have shown up because some think of my web development project as a Business Incubator and I’ve sought funding for a biotech project. I had some familiarity with abortion, but I was poorly prepared to cope with problems like these without adequate resources.

I couldn’t host, or entertain my guest due to sanctions by previous landlords that forbade me to allow guests like her into my home (homeless women without ID). That my bodyworker (a Registered Nurse) suggested I have cuddle parties with women like her and others didn’t really matter. For human contact, I had to work with a masseuse in clinical settings.

It was gunfire from the campground next to the river that motivated my departure, so I was very lucky to find a sheer wall by the University separating me from the roads - much more secure than the hidden falls park. I walked along the ledge until the natural formation was supported by a cement wall that became the foundation of a hospital and pitched my tent on a ledge below. Still near city resources, I stayed there until I found an office in a Mansion just south of the city proper where I couldn't sleep (he restricted my access to daytime hours), but another spot by the freeway was close by. A mole colony on the berm I walked to get to my tent there (between the parking lot and the freeway) made the soil so soft I could’ve planted potatoes without a spade.

But again, it was still really noisy and so cold during the winter that when a front-end loader dumped parking lot snow on my tent, digging out motivated me to look for a new home where I could sleep in earnest. So while living in shelters and following a lead from one of my old friends (a location that housed a source of aggravation) I was able to apply for an apartment. And then, by using the same management company, I applied for several other apartments in the same area, whereupon my next opportunity to rent presented in the form of a nice new apartment building where the same problems I started out with flourished in all their florid manifestations yet again.

So I return to the river and the park to visit with wildlife in the area whenever I could. Chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits on the cliff ledge bid me farewell the morning I left and the rabbit looked at me very sincerely while cleaning his front legs as if to say: “Don’t worry, we’ll clean up after you.”

I also met a tarantula on that cliff, who turned out to be a pretty good friend. He warned me with a shudder when my head got too close to his lair under the corner of my tent shortly before I left, as if to say: “There will be serious trouble out there again son.” and I knew he cared. He bit me so many times that the tip of one of my toes turned black, but I never faulted him for the gifts he was afforded. He turned out to be too fast for me to capture on camera, much less kill, and his warning systems worked just fine.

Remarkably, the fox returned to pay a visit before I left too, and a full sized whitetail Doe. It was so remarkable to me, that I thought somebody must have contrived to do so for my benefit. Who could that possibly be?


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