It is possible to get off the streets if you want to

To the Editor:

I’m here to write a short story about my last adventure. I hitched into Garberville last August looking for some work. I was not above doing "trim work" as it seemed at the time to be a ready thing, and there were many searching for the same. I was homeless on arrival. I had a bag with a few clothes, a blanket, and my shampoo and toothpaste.

I immediately searched for a place to rest my head at night, and as I’m not the most social, or trusting type, it had to be where not much foot traffic might cross my path. I soon found solace alongside the 101 freeway, amongst some bushes close enough to the road to feel the passing truck vibrations yet remain unseen, at least mostly unseen, and mostly at night.

Having found this spot, and feeling as though I were claiming a piece of land in an otherwise unforgiving environment, I settled in for my first night. It was uneventful.

The next morning I awoke to a very thick and soon to find out, a very regular fog, that soaked my blanket, and left me wondering if a trip to the local dryers was going to be a regular event. I rolled and stuffed my blanket, and folded and packed the tarp I used for a ground barrier, and swung it over my shoulder to see what Garberville was to be about.

The laundry was okay, and soon with the few quarters I had, I was ready for the day. There is a town square I found to be okay for short hangouts, and was equipped with a place to charge my phone. My phone was my lifeline to my past, present, and probably my future, so it was to become my first regular stop of the day. _

Well, this went on for two months, no "trimming" prospects presented themselves, and learning along the way, it was quite the dubious affair to be involved in anyways. I made up my mind to look for a "regular" job. Now mind you, these days were not uneventful, nor exactly comfortable. Not only physically challenging, but mentally. Showers were not available except at night behind a tree with a gallon of water, and only when the temperature agreed I wouldn’t choke on my breath as I poured water over my naked body. But it was necessary, and I was and am a person who in even the most dire situations, strives to remain presentable.

This said, I noticed a help wanted sign in the window of the local grocery store one day, and decided to give it a shot. I entered and found from a deli employee that I should apply forthwith. And I did. I was interviewed the next day, and the last question asked of me was whether I could pass a drug test or not. Funny, but mind you, this was Humboldt County... I said yes, as I was never a big fan of pot, though I really had nothing against it personally.

Took the test the next day and waited for the results so as to start work. The job was wonderful. The people were very nice, but I did hide the fact I was homeless and on the streets, to avoid unnecessary stereotypes. And until only a week ago, I remained on the streets working not only in the deli full time, but also as a dishwasher at The House Of Burgess here in Garberville on my two days off.

This went on for 43 days straight and then a stroke of goodwill rescued me from the beginning of the below freezing days we have just experienced. And even I was worried about this as being a life and death situation.

A co-worker mentioned a friend of his that needed a roommate in a two-bedroom duplex, and in short, I was off the streets. I’ve since stopped working at the restaurant, it was just too much, and I was always exhausted. But I continue at the deli full time, and enjoy it.

I need everything (laughing). I have upgraded to a sleeping bag on the floor, but thanks to the love and prayers of many wonderful people I have four walls, and a ceiling that doesn’t twinkle with the pattern of the Big Dipper.

This I tell to those who wander, and wonder if it’s at all possible to overcome great barriers, and rejoin society in a productive, and rewarding way, having nothing but good sense, a good heart, and a clean drug test. Yes, it is possible, I know, I did it. And you can, too.

Daniel Michael