3/03/2006

 

Routine

I have work tonight, but there's still much to do before I do that. I've got a meeting today, and I'll probably want to stick my head in the door of the Homeless Prevention Coalition of Guilford County, whose communications secretary, Michele, I spoke with on the phone yesterday (and who's already asked me to serve on a panel with her). At some point, I've got to check the mail in the P.O. box, pay the monthly charge on our storage unit, and reply to several e-mails, which I can't do from the Day Center's computer (due to some sort of glitch).

One trope the homeless -- or any poor person -- faces is that life slows down once you've lost your home/all your money.

No it doesn't, either. If anything, it speeds up.


One loss you feel is the loss of routine. A home is more than a roof over your head and a place to raise kids*, it is also a base from which to conduct your life. The old adage "a man's home is his castle"** applies here in the sense that a castle also served as headquarters and seat of power for the noble in charge. You just feel, well, more capable when you know that you have a base to return to where you can recharge and keep your stuff. Even though I can perform many of the same functions at the Day Center, it's not really the same. Routine tends to help keep you grounded, and gives you focus so that you don't go insane as quickly as you would if you had nothing to do.

The closest my day comes to having a routine now is the set of chores I've been assigned to do while at the Day Center. Each day, I'm responsible for collecting and disposing of the trash, keeping the computer room spotless (hard, when the children engage in turf battles for Web usage, or feel that they just have to be able to surf and play with their toys at the same time), cleaning and sanitizing the men's bathroom, and on Sundays, scrubbing and sanitaizing the trash cans and taking the large outdoor trash and recycling bins to the curb. Sometimes, if I have extra time and energy, I'll do Mama's chores as well. At night, when we're at our host church, I'll try to catch up on written correspondence and prepare for the next day's activities.

Otherwise, I never know what's going to happen from day to day. It's a little exciting and scary at the same time.

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*Or make them... :P

**Yes, I'm aware that a great many women head households, too. My mom did for the longest time. I just didn't feel like performing a series of literary gymnastics in an effort to be all inclusive. Forgive me, ladies.

Comments:
Hi Michael. It was good to talk with you yesterday. One correction, though. I'm not the director of HPCGC (we don't have one, we're a Coalition of agencies and individuals, not an agency), I'm the executive corresponding secretary and the communication chair. I look forward to speaking with you again soon. ;)
 
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