After driving 395 miles yesterday, I decided to stop and spend the night in Santa Nella California. I awoke at 3:45am and hopped back in the car to finish the final 100 miles of my journey and now I have a new respect for those who commute from Tracy and Stockton California to their jobs in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Mind numbing and life crushing traffic must start at 3:45 because the back ups were already in place by 4:00am. I won’t complain about my commute anymore…
All night I worried that Matt had left the security of his room to “go for a walk” at 10pm. The Motel6 person at the front desk advised me that their facility had a closed gate policy between 10pm and 7am to keep undesirables off the grounds. I could not register him because Matt had only a temporary paper California ID, thus if he walked off the premise, he might not get back in.
I showed back up at work today and I was greeted by, “Did you have a good time down in San Diego.” No on really wants to hear how things really went. My supervisor asked, “Is your son okay?” I replied, “He’s anything but okay.” This is my personal hell… This too will pass
He walked into the laundromat and took his clothes out of his backpack. While he took his items to be washed, he also placed multiple bottles of medications on the counter. Slowly he started to load his few clothes into the washing machine. I guess as part of his washing ritual he took a bottle of chocolate milk out of a black plastic bag and tore open a few saltine cracker packets. He began nibbling on them and watched the machine do its thing.
As I packed up my clothes, I thought, “I bet he would take a my partially used jug of Tide. I said, “Hey. Could you use some laundry detergent? It’s opened but there are a few loads left in it.” He accepted my offer. I told him I was washing my son’s clothes and of his situation. He softly said, “He’s in the system now and he can’t get out. It’s all about the money.” I nodded in agreement.
I went on to tell him how it all started with a bag of potato chips and of how mentally ill he is. He replied, “Yeah I know.” I closed the conversation by thanking him for his time. During the whole time, the hooded man never looked up nor made eye contact with me and for a moment I felt as if I had seen the Oracle of Delphi… This too will pass
It’s quite mild here this morning and what a wonderful place to be on a cool Sunday morning. I woke up early to wash his clothes prior to me heading north. Who knows when the next time he’ll have clean clothes to wear? I Googled “laundromats near me” and found this worn out place. Evidentially, this place is in the more seedy part of San Diego.
Wash-O-Mat shares its parking lot with what appears to be an all night taco stand and a tiny pizza establishment. The clientele of this laundromat mostly cater to those living on the fringe of society. They shuffle in with all their possessions and very carefully place their clothes into the beaten up washers and dryers. I realized, the homeless come here to stay warm on cool mornings.
As of yet I have not experienced any of the high life of San Diego. The downtown area is dotted with sleek high rises with balconies. I do know this, should the economy tank and things get bad, maybe these people on the bottom will be able to survive better than those at the top of the food chain. I believe it says somewhere in The Good Book that those on bottom will be on top… Who knows, I sure don’t… This too will pass
You know things aren’t right in this once great empire when there’s talk about Trumpus Maximus having an affair with a porn star and there isn’t much talk about it. Think about it, gold was secretly paid to Stormy Daniels to hush her up and still that isn’t enough for him to resign? Just imagine if President Obama had done such a thing! I’m sure Maximus Pencius will remind everyone, “Emperor Trump is working hard for The People of America.”
My God, has it come to this? We have an insane Emperor who calls countries shit holes and still his Republican Senate defends him. If it has come to this, then turn off the lights for we are doomed as an empire. We have lost respect of other countries leaders. So while he madly tweets his wonderful accomplishments, remember he has lowered the bar on everything.
Caligula was mad as rabid dog and had his armies fight the ocean. Sea shells were brought back to Rome as spoils of war… What next will our current mad man do? Oh that reminds me of Trumpus Maximus’s Wall. I think he was sitting in golden bed with one of his concubines and shouted out, “I can be another Emperor Hadrian of Rome! A Great Wall in my name shall be built! More grapes! I desire more grapes or I shall have you flogged!” This too will pass
These last few days were cold and wet, not anything like San Diego should be. The freeways are busy but nothing like The Bay Area’s freeways. This is my sixth time down here and I’m starting to know my way around here. I look up on the bluffs and see those incredible apartment complexes and think, “Matt will never live there.” He will be relegated to the cheap motels of El Cajon Blvd or worse.
No father wants to tell his son, “You need to keep your stuff with you 24-7 and for your own good, don’t trust anyone who befriends you.” All the while I know he’ll be friend another homeless person and hide his possessions in the reeds along the river. Before long I’ll get the call, “Dad… Help me…”
Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll check myself into the Motel6 and then head back north. (He has no picture thus he can’t check in) All the way home my mind will thinking, “I hope he’s ok.” This too will pass
We decided to hit the warm sunny beaches of San Diego California after this mornings terrible news. Oh I didn’t tell you?! That mail that kept showing up at Matt’s mom’s mailbox were monthly notifications that his restitution monies hadn’t been paid. Oh and it has now gone to collections. We found ourselves at the fourth floor offices of recovery and restitution. The sterile waiting room was devoid of even a faded public service poster or picture.
The cheerful woman behind the two inch bullet plexiglass barrier took Matt’s information and directed us to an even more sterile interview room. A woman with two sheets of paper entered the room and said, “Are you here to pay the 6375 dollars?” Matt replied, “I’m homeless.” I chimed in, “He just got out of jail and it says on the paper, ‘With prison exceptions he can delay payment.” Quickly she came back with, “He was in jail not prison.”
At the end of the meeting she advised us to get his court order and see what he was told to pay. Twenty minutes later, we had his order in hand. As we walked back to the car I heard his dysfunctional brain telling me how the incident happened. It made no sense and all I could think was, “My God, he hasn’t a clue what is going on.” I forgot to mention that the woman behind the counter, off the record said, “As long as you’re not arrested and since you have no money, you should be fine.” This too will pass
What’s that old saying? Steal a bag of potato chips from a 7-Eleven and you will do time but steal millions from a bank and they give you a golden parachute. Poor Matt has been laying in the bed next to me for the past 12 hours sound asleep and has no clue of his situation. This morning, we must go to his parole officer and see why he received a letter stating, “Failure to pay the restitution of 524 dollars can result in additional time in detention.” His mother opened her mail box and there it was; for a bag of sour cream and onion chips.
Something is wrong with the system and no one can fix it. Our senators are so in the pocket of the corporations that they do whatever the CEO’s say. If the Chairman of 7-Eleven wanted impromptu firing squads for shoplifters, laws would somehow be enacted to allow it. Yes, Matt stole at bag of chips and paid the heavy price for his actions.
My son needs help now and no one is willing to help. Yesterday we went to Action Central, a support organization, who finds beds for people like Matt. There’s a two month waiting list. When I leave on Sunday, I put him up in a cheap Motel 6 for a week. It’s what I can do. I find it quite sad that after all the people I helped with the proceeds of my father’s house, I can barely get Matt a week at a Motel 6. This too will pass
Most people come to San Diego to see The Zoo or Legolas’s, I come here to wait in line at state run offices. The San Diego County Welfare Office is located off the main drag and 73rd Street and El Cajon and you can just tell it was built in the mid-sixties with little remodeling having been done since. A crowd of usuals hangout in front of the place, a couple of Jehovah Witnesses and a smiling elderly man in a wheelchair and cell phone peddlers surround the tired old building.
Next stop Action Central where hopefully Matt can obtain a warm bed and a few meals. He didn’t want me to go in with him so here I sit in what was once a Hawaiian style motel turned into offices. Again I am hearing I, Claudius for the second time. If you remove all the Roman names and place names from our time period, not much has changed. Next up, Target or Ross to get him a couple of tee shirts for the warm days ahead… This too will pass
After standing in line at the DMV we made the our way to the San Diego County Department of Welfare to get his debit card and a disposable phone, I refuse to use the street name for the phone. The waiting room was filled with sweaty people who looked beaten and broken but who am I to judge. Being here would break anyone’s spirit and here I sit with a 31 year old who is barely aware of the situation he’s in. There is little in this waiting room which would give hope to anyone. The blue linoleum floor has seen better days and the rows of black chairs reek of bowels and sweat.
At one point, he turns to me and says, “Can we go to buy some clothes. I replied, “Your mom gave you a bag of clothes and that’s it.” I reminded him that this was the third or fourth time I had bought clothes, just to have them lost. He did not like that answer and blew up at me. The entry guard walked over and said, “Please keep it down.” Knowing it wouldn’t get better I retreated to the car. Prior to me getting up, he said, “You left me here in San Diego to die!” I had done the opposite.
Had he remained in the Sonoma area during the winter, he would have died from exposure. He had been banned from staying at his mother’s apartment complex and I had nowhere for him to stay. Even if I could have had him stay in the RV with me, that would be a disaster. Up until now, he was under control but in a moment I saw his eyes turn black and that dreaded paranoia resurfaced. This too will pass