I stopped by the 12th Street encampment yesterday to check in on Messy and to try to meet some of the other folks living in the encampment. I entered through the side entrance on 12th where I was formally introduced by Messy to Fred who happens to be a really interesting guy with a few quirk’s. But don’t we all have those? Messy mentioned my project and he wanted to know more about it and it’s purpose. So we talked about it for a bit and he agreed to an interview. Stay tuned for more on Fred in a later posting.
After speaking with Fred for a bit I found Messy just outside of his tent speaking with one of the residents who I’ve yet to be introduced to. I think I remember Messy calling her Anne which I will have to verify and update this post accordingly.
After speaking with Anne I asked Messy if she’d had anything to eat today. “A muffin that some folks brought out a few hours ago but that was it.” I asked if she wanted to go out with me to pick up some dinner for her and they others. “Are you sure you’re not embarrassed to be seen with me in public?” I was taken aback, but I tried to think of how she must be feeling. I tried to reassure her but all I could muster is “no you’re fine.” I should have said more.
We decided to go to El Pollo Loco as it was close and they had family meal deals that we could all split.
When we got back, I don’t think anyone expected me to stay and eat with them, but that’s what I did. We fashioned a table from an old chair and I sat next to Messy on the couch for a meal. This was about the time when I met another of the camps residents, Sean. When Sean first got to the area he was already arguing with another resident about a bike that was stolen the day before which Sean in turn stole from that guy. The entire exchange was both intense and hilarious.
That argument raged on for the better part of 5 min. While that was going Juan put up his privacy screen to conduct a secret project. What ever will it be?
Once everyone finished eating it was time to kick back.
I tried to get a pre-release preview of what was being made behind Oz’s Magic curtain, but I got busted!
After the bike argument broke up, everyone went back to being relaxed in almost an instant. Like any other social group there are factions within, but for the most part everyone knows everyone and there seems to be a lot of comradery even though their situation is difficult the residents all seem to look out for one another.
Even though they don’t have much in the way of worldly possessions they have a sense of pride and community which the general population seems to be sorely lacking. These are some of the warmest people I have ever met despite spending their nights out in the cold.
While they were having a moment a big reveal was about to happen!
Imagine my surprise when Juan exits the tent with a homemade Bong. It still needed some tweaking but it seemed to work just fine according to everyone…Well everyone except for Sean.
There were a few technically difficulties along the way, namely a carb hole missing from the bong, but after getting a hole poked with a Dull pocket knife everything was operational! Juan provide the cannabis and actually had a sizable amount in the jar. As did a few other residents. I saw a few punch bowls full of the stuff.
I hung out and talked to Messy for a bit after everyone (I passed) took a few pulls off the bong. We talked about her son for about 40 minuets, and what she’s doing to get back on her feet. I will save that and the talk I had with Fred after that for another post! Thanks for stopping by and if you’ve donated to the Gofundme since stopping by thank you for your support! Please check back often as I will be keeping you all in to date on what’s happening below the surface in this great American metropolitan area.