Jim's NowPublic Postings

Random thoughts about the world, politics,politics, comedy, and stuff I post on NowPublic.com

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Location: Statesville, North Carolina, United States

57, bald, beard, 5'3" 189# single and looking

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Gimme Shelter

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It's dark and dank. It smells terrible. It's full of black mold and cocroaches. It's filled with felons. It has unsanitary bathrooms and showers. The bathroom stalls are so small that you can't close the door, drop your pants and sit down. You have to leave the door open, drop your drawers and sit down and THEN close the stall door. The breakfasts are usually just cereal and pastries and coffee. The floors are old and wooden and creek when you walk. Sleeping is tough. It's cold and drafty.


This is the shelter in Statesville, North Carolina.


Yet, through it all, this is home, at least on a temporary basis. It's full of people who talk to themselves, and full of people who wouldn't know personal hygiene if it walked up and called them daddy. Yet there are some good people there. There are people there who will watch your back as well as watch your belongings so no one else steals your stuff. The good people are the ones who are in much the same boat as me, foreclosed on, or laid off from work and lost their homes or apartments. There are those too who have been addicted to one substance or the other and now have their life clean of those things but have yet to get back the basics they lost when they were practicing their addiction. And then too, there are those in the shelter who are just trying to get over on the system and have a free place to stay regardless of the conditions.


Aside from shooing away cocroaches at your meals, most of the lunches and dinners are filling if not tasty too. Of course with any kind of institutional cooking, it has to be somewhat bland instead of spicey and if anyone wants to add salt and pepper they can. With all the roaches though, it makes one wonder how much got in the food. We'll try not to think about that one too much though, since it's kinda depressing.


The good news though is that sometime in December of this year, we're supposed to move next door into a 6 million dollar facility and the one we're in, which is an old elementary school, will be torn down. From what I hear, the school building is over 60 years old and falling apart.


The staff is all resident staff, and 2 nurses and one bookkeeper and then of course the owner who comes during the day. The nurses don't live on site either. Interenet usage is limited to 15 minutes a day, which is hardly time to do anything at all, especially look for work. The neighborhood is so bad that they actually tell you which streets to NOT walk down or you'll be in an area of crack houses and armed robberies. Why they would spend 6 large, putting a new building in that kind of area is beyond me, but hey, it's not my money either so, I'm not going to question it.


My bed is in the back of the school gym, and also in the back is someone who quite frankly stinks to high heavens. The sad thing though is that he's a very nice guy, but he's too huge to properly take care of himself.


Before I ended up in the Statesville shelter I worked for a bit on the Obama campaign. In North Carolina we have early voting and I was up at the Mooresville Public Library working handing out flyers as people went in to vote. I guess I was doing too good a job at convincing the undecided to vote for Obama, because the precinct workers succeeded in getting me banned from the table. So I ended up at Obama headquarters in Mooresville, making calls on behalf of Obama. After I got sent to Statesville, I worked at the campaign headquarters there too till election day. Our county went mostly Republican, but we turned the state of North Carolina blue for the first time in decades. I was very proud of our work and that we came out a winner. Now it's up to Obama to show his stuff and not let us down. We put our faith in God, and nothing else matters, but it'll be nice to see a mere mortal do good things for this country. It can't be any worse than Bush's job of leading our country into 2 wars and a disasterous economic hardship that he put us in with his unwillingness to regulate certain factions of corporate America. At least we won't have to worry about Palin for 4 yrs.

Gimme Shelter