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Fri, May. 17th, 2013, 08:26 pm
Adventures on Rounds (NE DC)

A few words of wisdom.

* I really, really need to pack an emergency night-pack of meds and day-pack of meds in my back AT ALL TIMES for whenever I leave the house no matter how trivial the reason. This is especially true since I no longer take low doses of Seroquel as my calm down drug, but hydroxyzine, meaning I no longer have a bottle of Seroquel in my purse I can use to cover gaps (I take a high dose at night).
* While tuna fish may still be on my edible list, mayonnaise is almost certainly not, and while this make tuna fish nigh on inedible I should still know better than to slather in enough mayo to make it tasty. (For whatever reason, tuna fish is the only time I earth I even eat mayo, the rest of the time I think it's nasty.)

Ate a tuna fish sandwich before I went to HIPS to volunteer yesterday, but never ate the second sandwich because my stomach immediately felt like I'd eaten a shoe. It didn't hurt, it was just a completely indigestible lump. Put in some much needed time at HIPS, not just stuff they needed done, but stuff I needed to do. It's good for me to get out and feel needed. Then my dumb ass went on 'rounds'. I've been feeling a little guilty since I haven't been going out recently, and one of my peeps died less than a month ago, we knew she was going (cancer) and she'd stopped taking care of herself after her dog was tragically run over last year; it still came as a bit of a shock because I hadn't been around and missed the funeral just barely.

My rounds is when I call up old peeps (read this as addict friends, homeless peeps, and their network of friends, etc.) and check in, see how folks are doing, catch up on gossip in the neighborhood, bring them stuff from HIPS if they want/need it. Lots of folks can't manage to keep phones, like the lady who died, so it's hoof it to their place and knock. Only I was exhausted even from just the travel and a couple of hours at HIPS, so I'd just planned on calling a buddy who tends to know a bunch of other buddies. I figured if I hung out for awhile I was bound to catch up on all the good neighborhood gossip in one section of town. Usually I would have stopped in at the dead lady's house in the other neighborhood, but now that she's gone tracking down everyone who used to hang out there is an adventure I had no particular desire to undertake, not even to see who had gone to the funeral, who hadn't, where everyone had gravitated to (so far it's still up in the air, she used to let people stay there and it seems lots of folks are still kind of lost and wandering). Plus, that section of town can be wild, and I wasn't up for that, either.

So I was hanging out, having given away the other tuna fish sandwich and feeling the horrid effects of the first one starting to hit me. For the most part I was trying to ignore this, on account my friend is in that state between homeless and housed. I'd call it homeless, but they wouldn't, and most people in their situation would be offended if you suggested they were. See, there's an in between state of being housed, where they have a 'spot' that someone lets them stay. The lady who died, for example, I had a friend staying there every night when she didn't go home. She had a real home, staying with a relative, but that relative didn't like her getting high and for that reason had given her a curfew (my friend is not underage by any means, the curfew was an attempt to control her addiction). Only the curfew is almost like a punishment now, if she comes home and has been getting high, even if she's now coming down (it shows), or if it is past curfew, she can't get in and has no where to sleep. Doesn't matter the weather. Maybe those rules were necessary; I could see my friend's addiction being pretty disruptive to general home life. Anyway, she'd end up at this lady's house more nights than she was home, sleeping upright in a chair. At least it had a working bathroom and it was safe. Then there are more permanent spots. I've known people who were allowed to sleep in someone's garden shed, in exchange for some light lawn care. A garden shed with a cot in it, and whatever kind of blankets pinned up on the walls to make up insulation. I can only tell you about this spot because it isn't being used anymore. Often times, when these spots are used, they aren't legal living spaces, and therefore are secrets. Someone might let someone live somewhere out of kindness, so long as no one knows about it, a building manager letting someone flop in an unused stairwell of a parking garage (I've seen this one too). If the spot is good enough, a small rental fee is charged, or there might be a work agreement. In which case, usually the person staying there does not think of themselves as homeless, even if they don't have kitchens or running water or electricity. They have a spot, they pay for that spot, they sleep in that spot, it has some way of locking and protecting their belongings (although usually not very well) from the world, therefore they are not homeless. They just live in conditions reminiscent of third world countries only worse, because when you are living in secret, in a city, those kinds of spaces aren't very open to outside air and gradually take on an unholy odor you wouldn't find in a hut in the jungle, where everyone is poor and at least the floor gets swept every day.

So this particular buddy has a spot, and I was pretending to ignore my tummy rumblings or, occasionally, taking the trek down to the nearby recreation center to use the toilet because the spot doesn't have one. It was starting to get dark and this isn't a neighborhood I enjoy venturing around in if I'm alone and it's dark. It's fine in the daytime. He had a lawn that needed mowed before it got too late so we took the lawnmower around and blammo, whole street full of police. Seems like the younguns that hang out by the rec center decided it would be a good idea to try and rob someone, only it didn't seem they were successful at getting any money and the police chased them all down, not that that was hard since they hang out all over the neighborhood and shoot dice. And they tried to rob someone from the neighborhood. So all the neighbors are watching, there's 8 or 9 police cars blocking up the street with the jump out squad too. They've got two in cuffs, chased down like three more, rounded them all up. Then the guy from the rec speaks up for them! As if these kids are 'really just good kids'. So they basically let the kids go with citations or some such, didn't find any weapons, etc. And the neighbors are livid, at the kids and the rec center guy. They care less about kids robbing people than about robbing people from their own neighborhood, I think, but those kids are known miscreants half the time anyway, trying to break into unlocked houses and such. I saw the kids getting arrested, and on my next trek to the bathroom could've sworn I saw them again by the rec, saw some younguns anyway (it was them) and steered well clear, and again by the market getting a soda, or attempting to because the market was strangely closed. Which is why the market closed early, even with a police car actively following them everywhere they went that night (honestly, the safest place on earth was probably with those younguns the number of tails they had), I guess the market was afraid to get robbed so they just locked their doors to customers and called it a night. A bunch of people were standing around the doors looking confused and angry. And these teenage kids were hanging out trying to look nonchalant even though a police van was trailing them wherever they went. Why don't they just go home, I wonder?

Another of my peeps got fed some bad speedy shit instead of crack, only some of that new synthetic stuff is so real looking you can't tell even when you recook it, only when you smoke it and it messes you up. So she spent the night in the hospital because she couldn't breathe. There's a little of that stuff, and a whole lot of weird synthetic stuff that will really REALLY poison you going around, and it looks so real and makes me so mad. It gets people so sick; it's poison. It makes your head hurt and you start throwing up everywhere. I've done it, and I've seen other people do it. And it's everywhere, because whatever it is it's cheap and easy to sell, and you can't tell it isn't real drugs until way too late. They mix it into the real stuff and you can't get it back out very easily, and sometimes not at all. Mostly, you just hope there isn't so much that you start puking. I know we're just addicts, but these are people too. Addicts can't just stop, if they could, don't you think getting something that would probably make you puke your guts out but trying to recook it in the hopes that it won't says something? That says to me, hey, this isn't something I can just take or leave, if it were it wouldn't be an addiction. We need a logical and sane decriminalization and legalization program. First, decriminalize the small amounts of possession, of all drugs and drug paraphernalia. Create a system of exchanges where used needles, works, and glass stems (which can transfer hepatitis) can be exchanged for new ones. In the decriminalized drug world, if you are caught with drugs they still aren't legal, the drugs are generally confiscated and you are issued a warning along with an offer/pamphlet etc. for assistance for addiction, if you so choose. In one system you have to appear at court, but there is no jail time, no penalty, you just have to show up to court, at which point you are offered rehab which you are free to turn down and then you go home. The paraphernalia itself should be legal, so long as you can prove you are a member or affiliated with an exchange (the same way it is in DC with needles, but this would apply to everything). That gently discourages littering of paraphernalia, because we're good about encouraging folks to bring back the used stuff.

The past year I've seen more and more synthetic; I guess it's just everywhere. I'm beginning to think there should be two rules, one if you sell drugs and one if you sell poison. Selling people drugs is one thing. Selling people shit that puts them automatically in the hospital and makes them sick is another. Yes, I know technically drugs are poison. Wish there could be a drug purity law. As in, it's illegal to sell drugs, but if you sell drugs that are super fake they should just call it attempted murder or at least assault with a deadly weapon. It should be a special kind of crime, at least, with extra years. Everything you sell must be at least 50% real or you get extra time if you get caught, something like that. She's still in the hospital, by the way.

I ended up staying past metro, and crashing at a friend's house, one of my old crashing spots. I guess it's important to remember what it's like to sleep on a makeshift bed that hurts your back (which is extra painful for me nowadays; I didn't even do anything that could be called sleep). For those that wonder, there are no cabs that come to this area at night, don't even bother calling. They'll tell you they are on their way, but I've waited all night, or more than four hours and then had metro be open and taken the trains home, etc. And, since I didn't have my sleepy pills, sleep wasn't about to come anyway. It was a really long night. And I was really dragging this morning, in fact, I passed into something like sleep somewhere around the time I should've been hopping on the first trains home (about 0500 or 0600). So I got home, frantically straightened up the house for the maid, let her in, and then passed out completely while she was working (bed, oh my nice soft wonderful bed). And I hadn't had a chance for breakfast, and I slept a wee bit long, so I was late taking the morning meds too, meaning that without my night meds (couldn't take them after I got home, or I would've REALLY crashed), and late on morning I hit medication withdrawal. Ick. Double ick. Woke up in time for Chris to get home from work so I could finally eat and take my morning meds, and now the hot/cold chills I must've been sleeping with seem to have stopped. Apparently I was curled in a ball, whimpering and muttering.

And that's been my day. My back still hurts, my stomach still hurts. I'm not on meds withdrawal but I'm still exhausted and probably will be for a few more days at least. My friend is going to be in the hospital for a few more hours and I want to be awake for her call when she is released, but I doubt that will happen. The old lady and her dog are still dead and the younguns are still running wild in the streets and checking unlocked houses to rob and shooting dice in the alleys. And dealers are still selling synthetic and speedy shit that puts people into the hospital, and no one cares because they're just addicts, after all, and what's one more dead addict? She's got a daughter, all grown up now. And a brother who is disabled, that she looks out for. A ton of cousins. In case you were wondering.

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