05
Feb
16

Money Diet: Week 2 Complete

Well, I just finished off day 15 of the Money Diet…quite successfully, I might add. As expected, I had a few more expenses last week – but nothing too bad. Day 11 got the most action. I gained 2.36 (food run for the boss) but then ended up spending 12.03 on some materials to make cookies, plus I caved and bought a loaf of bread. I did use up a punch card for a free bagel breakfast sandwich on Sunday, so that was a nice treat. I also talked myself outta buying a used copy of The Iliad…which was really easy when I discovered the bookstore was closed. Later, I checked out a book on the Trojan War from the school library and that satiated my want of extracurricular texts.

Now that I think about it, nothing happened (money-wise) Monday through Wednesday. I found out that my dad had another stroke and was taken to the hospital – the news really made me want to head to the bar and knock a couple cold ones back, but I refrained. I was actually pretty diligent about getting to school and back home…or to the hospital and home. So, with Sunday’s come up and loss I ended week 2 at (-45.20); I’m still just a hair above day 4, which remains my greatest spending day. If I averaged my daily spending on day 4 it would be 11.56 per day. My two week daily averages comes to a grand total of 3dollars and 20cents. Let’s see how low we can get that!

My supplies are dwindling. Ideally, I’d like to stretch my current food stock for 2 weeks, but one week before I need to buy a steak or something seems more attainable. The big players in my loot is a can of tuna, frozen pizza, chicken, 3 potatoes, and some pita chips and hummus. Actually, I completely spaced on my 10eggs and family sized bag of pancake mix…maybe 2 weeks isn’t too far off. For food, that is. My cat also needs food. Soon.

I’ve been really good about just drinking tea, and coffee, and water; so, I’ve had a jug of grapefruit juice last me a long while. I still have a good amount. Also, I scored a 2litre jug of Dr. Pepper today – at least I have some fun things to drink when I need a pick-me-up. I ran outta brown sugar a few days ago so my honey intake has increased…though I only have so much honey. Perhaps I’ll pilfer some sugar packets from the school’s coffee stand.

As I type I just spent 2.50 on laundry. Not bad. It’s kinda like a break even – gain a giant soda, lose 2.50 in quarters. The ol’ yin-yang wallet-dance. And, in the end I win clean articles of clothing a chaser for my bourbon. I just hope the week ahead of me goes smoothly. So far so good – the laundry puts me at under 3.20 for the last 15 days. Hopefully, I just end up getting cat food and a few produce items. I sense a bunch of eggs and pancakes for dinner coming up real soon…

Cheers to being cheap!

30
Jan
16

Money Diet Day 9: Ups and Downs

Wahoo! Well, today was definitely the richest I’ve eaten in a week. Also the most that money has moved around – in both directions. First, I’ll go over the gains. I found 35cents yesterday and today I gained a whopping $7.44. I had a plan all week for my boss to get a bagel sandwich ’cause I found a stamp card for buy one get one free. My plan worked and a bagel sandwich and bonus smoothies happened. I later discovered that I forgot to give him his change back. He’ll be fine with out it. Also, that afternoon, I went on a meatball sub mission and scored half (I remembered to give change back that time…well…bills).

Now, yesterday I ended at (-22.44) with this day’s gain that puts me at (-14.65). However, that kitty litter I mentioned yesterday had to actualize today and I took a visit through the manager specials. I am almost out of produce and wanted to see what deals were in store; in the store.

I actually made out pretty good…I got a pound of mushrooms, 8bananas, 3potatoes, and two salad kits for $6.38. That should help me power through the upcoming week. The weekend will be a breeze: work, home, homework, work, home, homework. Wash, rinse, repeat. I also want to power through The Odyssey, and that will require strict focus and lack of spending. Anyhoo, I spent a reasonable amount of money on food – especially considering it will be at least a week until I see the grocery store again – and that cat litter ended up costing $14.50; which leaves me at a grand total of (-35.53) and still ahead of day 4, when I had to buy this new keyboard I’m typing on. Just to recap, if you’re lost, that means that 9 days from the day I declared to be on a strict budget, I have spent a total of 35dollars and 53cents (after a series of losses and gains).

Ideally, I’d like to make it back to zero – that seems to mean that I need to find a lot of change on the ground or go on more food runs for the boss. I’m not exactly sure how long this should go on. I never settled on an exact date. I toyed with a month. After a month and a half my bus card will have paid for itself. Or until my bus card runs dry? I checked inventory and the only things I really need/want that are coming up are hair conditioner, coffee filters, and spaghetti sauce. We’ll see how that goes. Today I resisted the urge to buy mint and wine. I don’t really need mint and wine, I have liquor and…ginger? That reminds me – I need to use that ginger.

Well, that looks like all the spending and saving of the day, I have made it home safely. Some produce is now in stock and homework still awaits – I’ll be back when I find a dime on the floor or something.

29
Jan
16

Money Diet Week One: Number Crunch

Well, week one of the Money Diet is complete. Today kicks off Day 8 of my parsimonious journey. There were a few financial breakthroughs, so I’m not as negative as last tallied. At Day 5 I finished off at (-46.24). Day 6 I found 6cents and my roommate gave me 35bucks for a light bill that I forgot about. Now, here’s where some janky math comes in, but bear with me…The light bill is actually being paid through an account separate from my income. So, the 35bucks goes straight to me! Yay! And now I feel less bad about the unexpected keyboard expense. That also brings me from (-46.24) to (-11.18). Much better.

Then I had a little accident. I spent 9dollars somehow – or 8.76 to be exact. and I don’t know on what or where. Damn you, bourbon! I remember leaving and I remember getting home but there is a time period of no more than 45min that I completely don’t know what I did. I know I didn’t buy food because it would’ve been all over my shirt and pants and I’d probably have a receipt…I actually thought I executed the night without a hitch. It wasn’t until I checked my coat pocket and found a dollar bill. As I didn’t leave the house with any dollars in my pocket, I found this to be quite odd. I then checked my wallet – my ten dollar bill was gone! So, I musta broken it somewhere; on something. But what? The world (or just me) may never know. I checked my pants pockets and double checked my coat pockets and triple checked my wallet, but no evidence was to be found. I would like to add that 8.74 does sound like a pack of smokes that I could’ve easily dropped in my state of confusion. Anyhoo, I made it home all right and 8.76 isn’t too bad for a night of drinking. With the brown out and a load of laundry that puts me at a grand total of (-22.44) for week one of the Money Diet. Not too shabby.

I have some upcoming expenses I’m not looking forward to adding to the tab – kitty litter, mailing a package, and I’m gettin’ real tired of oatmeal and rice. I work the next few days so I’ll have access to cheeseburgers, but at this point that doesn’t sound appetizing. I have a card good for a free dozen bagels from the bagel shop by my work, so when I get low on bread that’s my plan. Also, I can pilfer from my roommate’s supply if it gets rough. I still have lunch meat, chicken, a can of tuna, and some liquor. I know for sure this week will be just fine, week 3 might not be looking too hot, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. For now, I just have to make it to work and back home and all will be well.

In other news, I finally removed a shard of glass from my paw. That sucker was in there all week. I was a bit nervous about having to dig it out with my left hand, and was hoping that it would push itself out. It was in a part of my hand that is used more often than originally thought so it kept getting pushed further in. So, after a long hot shower, I grabbed a sewing needle and tweezers and went for it. At first, I couldn’t find it and so I asked my roommate for help, but the shaky bastard was of no use. I went back to my room with newly found determination and got it after a couple more tries. I must say, I shoulda done that a lot sooner – I almost forgot what it felt like not having a shard of glass stuck in your hand that was constantly digging in. I am at ease once again! Well, now I have to prepare myself to wage labor so I can have more money to not spend!

Here’s to another week of not spending!

25
Jan
16

Money Diet 2.0

Today concludes day 4 of the newest installment of a game that I often like to play against myself called “Don’t spend any damn money on anything, you fool” or in shorter terms the “Money Diet.” Now don’t start your mind all wanderin’ and get visuals of me chompin’ down on quarters or brewing up a fancy tea with two dollar bills to keep my figure in line. I’m not eating the money. I’m just not spending the money. I wish I could take credit for the term “money diet” but the credit all goes to my dad. It was something he’d tell me I needed when I was younger – when my budget started gettin’ too big.

So, as an adult, the Money Diet is an homage to my father’s take on spending – or not spending, if you will.

This round of the Money Diet kicked off Thursday, the 21st of January, 2016. I’m not exactly sure when my last Money Diet took place, but I do know that in the end I spent 29dollars on groceries over the course of 3weeks. I didn’t buy any food, mainly…I’m pretty sure I had to have bought beer or somethin’. I once spent only 25cents over the course of one week – I did have a prepaid bus card, but still…25cents. No beer no food, just that damn quarter that I can’t recall what on. I think I put up on a newspaper.

Anyhoo, I decided that I was about due for another round of the Money Diet. It has to at least be 9months or so since my last go at it. Normally, I would just stock up on about 20 or 30dollars worth of groceries, set aside my bus fare for the week and toss an emergency 5bucks into my wallet. This time, however, I had the opportunity to get a discounted bus card from school. So, I went all out on the bus fare; I figured I’d go all out on the food supply – well, within reason. I definitely won’t be eating rotten food. I will need to eventually get fresh produce, but when? That is the game.

Day 1 went by smoothly, though I did almost crack near the end. I got off work and wanted two drink 2beers at the bar and be left to my book. In the course of changing out of my work uniform and into my civilian clothes I reasoned that day 1 would be a lousy day to reward myself. Even if I felt strong-heartedly that I deserved to have two cheap beers and read my book in quiet at the bar.

Day 2 went by fine as well, I was sick of eating cheeseburger macaroni. It may have been day 2 of Money Diet, but it was also, most definitely, day 3 of cheeseburger macaroni. It actually ended up great because I received to beers and a steak sandwich after work through a generous donor. I have some liquor stocked up at home so I had a small group of friends over. Got pretty sloshed. Ate good food. Spent no money.

Day 3 was yesterday. I feel like it went well…I had some miscommunication about an assignment deadline for a class and was bummed about that, but I didn’t spend money about it. I was slightly hungover for most the day and I wanted to feed the hangover and the sadness of the recently discovered late assignment, but I didn’t.

Aannnnnd, here we are. Day 4. Another successful day of not spending…or so I thought up until a few hrs ago. I was skeptical this morning because I didn’t make a lunch for work and I was still bummed about the assignment. I did, however, remember that I dropped a dime at work yesterday and relocated it immediately when I arrived for my shift. I should have made a note yesterday of the minus 10cents…but I’m doing it now, so whatever. The shift manager got us bagels and a homegirl at work brought some in some pozole, so food was taken care of. I found 2pennies when I relocated my dime and later on I found a quarter on the ground. On my last break I e-mailed the teacher about the miscommunication (fittingly for a communications class) and she quickly responded that she would take my assignment without penalty. I got off work early and everything seemed to fall into place…I just actually had to do the assignment so I could submit it late. Without penalty.

I get home and my fingers are typin’ up a storm. All is clear and I’m on my last paragraph…Oh, did I mention that my keyboard was pretty iffy and the and there was a wire about to snap? ‘Cause that snapping thing totally happened. On the last paragraph. Of my late assignment. That I told the gracious teacher I would send promptly once I got home. Oh, and It’s almost 9 o’clock P.M. on a Sunday. Well, I tried everything I could think of. I mean, short of taking it apart and stripping the red wire and getting pissed off about it. I texted friends…I texted a friend out of state to have in state people look around. No go and the clock was ticking. I did the only thing I could do (other than get pissed off about having to take my keyboard apart) and went to the Target downtown and bought a brand new wireless keyboard – that I’m typing on right now. At least it was something I needed and it’s something that I won’t have to worry about for a good while. Today has been quite the roller-coaster ride of a day. The lost dime that became found. The teacher that doesn’t accept late work having a turn of heart. Heck, I was up 27cents at one point! Then the appropriately failing keyboard in a very clutch moment…for day 4 of the Money Diet, we aren’t lookin’ too fresh. A (+.27) early in the day and finishing off at (-46.24).

Looks like I’m gonna have to start finding a lot more quarters on the ground…

13
May
11

Serendpity

 I entered the doors of the now deceased Kincora’s with one objective: Whiskey. Lots of whisky. No chaser. Straight up. This was my test-your-limits-of-alcohol-consumption stage of life and I sought to do just that; whiskey aided in this experiment. When you partake in numerous alcoholic episodes you pick up on strategies such as eating beforehand to boost up your drinking stamina, or not eating at all to get more bang for your buck. On this occasion, I opted for the empty-stomach approach, while simultaneously attempting to hone this technique called “Not-Breaking-the-Seal.” What goes in must come out and when it comes to mass alcohol intake, you can expect a lot of coming out. Legend has it, if you urinate at first reactionary urge; you’re doomed – just a fool running to the bathroom every fifteen minutes.

That night I decided to be no fool.

My co-worker, Josh, and I had spent a couple hours knocking back our bitter beverage choices with fury, when Sarah entered the picture. When I first started working at Dick’s she was a regular employee, she quickly took a promotion and I hadn’t seen her since. Sarah was familiar with this substance called whiskey and definitely was not shy in its presence. We didn’t know each other at all at the time, but our reindeer games went forth as we bonded over whiskey drinks.

After hours of being on top of the world, chain-smoking, and chatting it up with strange alcoholics in a dark, loud room, I decided that I was now going to Break-the-Seal. “All right! I proclaimed, making sure to give both Josh and Sarah adequate eye-contact. “I’m doing it! I’m going in!” And with that I made way to the restroom. All I know of what happened next is that it was glorious. It was relieving. And it took a really long time.

A really, really long time.

Sarah started to become concerned.

“Man, she’s been in there for a while…”

“Yeah,” Josh agreed

“Maybe you should go in and check on her?”

“I’m not goin’ in the fuckin’ ladies room! You crazy? You go check.”

Sarah found me with my head slumped against the stall. Apparently, in my state of relief and relaxation, I had fallen asleep.

“She’s passed out in there,” Sarah reported back, “I tried to wake her up but it is NOT happening.”

At my next moment of consciousness I was staring up at an unfamiliar woman peering over the stall’s edge. “Do you need any help?”

I gathered up every ounce of cool I had left. “I got this.”

I made myself decent; splashed my face, and soon found myself standing at the other end of a cigarette out front. The rain was coming down pretty steady, but my recently purchased wool hat provided all the necessary shelter. It was time for us all to part ways. My damage had been done and it was officially time to retire. Josh really wanted me to take a cab but I refused. My objective was home; I knew how to get home and some nosey cab driver would only complicate the situation.

At this point, I lived in this little green bungalow on California Avenue, one of eight – we called it the Green Ghetto. During World War II, West Seattle was littered with these things. Now, my place of residence was one of the last to remain; home to a friendly group of characters that didn’t mind hanging out together or just leaving each other alone. I spent twelve years of my life finding my way back to that little green house, with its chipped-paint and cheap rent and I’ll be damned if I wasn’t going to find my way home that night.

The next thing I knew, I was waking up on my couch; I was thirsty. It will always puzzle me how one can drink such quantities over the course of a night and yet still wake up so thirsty. In my haze, I grabbed water. Plenty of water. Where the hell is my back pack? I thought. I frantically began searching for my back pack. I ran up and down the stairs – in my room, out my room, checked outside – looked in strange corners I would rarely enter.

Fuck. Great.

For the life of me, I had no idea how I got home, where my back pack was, or, better question, where the hell my hat was. I could have sworn I was wearing a really awesome, recently purchased hat. With my tail between my legs and my ego knocked down a couple of notches and my incredible thirst,  I walked to the bus stop – at least I wouldn’t be late for work; at least I could do that right. I snatched up a bus schedule upon boarding the Metro and scanned it looking for the Lost and Found number.

New plan: one, call up Metro Lost and Found and see if left it on the bus and a kind Samaritan turned it over; two, ask Josh if I even left with my back pack – maybe I just left it at Kincora’s. God, I hope I left it at Kincora’s

While the bus escorted me to my next destination I pondered all the contents of my back pack that I may have lost.

Dirty work shirt? Meh. Who cares about a dirty work shirt? Some journals I been writing in over the years? Why the hell was I even dragging them around? I’ve never filled one all the way through…What was that banjo song I wrote a few weeks back? I’ll never replicate how that thing went. I think I liked it…I really liked that back pack…Did I pass out in the bathroom?

Once downtown, I got off to transfer to another coach that would trudge me up the hill. I lit up a smoke and headed to bus-stop-number-two on the daily journey. Most of the time Downtown treats me all right. Some instances can be a little sketchy but my slight scowl from not wearing my glasses, carefully placed tattoos and my general she-could-have-a-knife appearance allows me just enough breathing room from the common city dweller. If someone speaks to me, I speak back and I always remain skeptical. Out of my peripheral I noticed someone speeding up to my pace and lingering. I looked over.

“How’s it goin’?”  They inquire.

“Goin’ good.” I said with tired confidence.

“MAN. You were fuck-ed UP last night!”

”Yeah,” I replied with a nervous smile. “It happens…” I kept aim for the bus stop and took a heavy puff of smoke as the stranger broke away.

Did he see my back pack? He sure as hell saw me…but where?

As soon as I walked into to work, Josh had a big cheesy grin on his face. I smiled weakly back as he let out a loud, jocular laugh.

“Hey, did I leave with my back pack?”

“From the spot? You had a back pack?”

“Yeah. You don’t remember if I had my back pack? How ‘bout my hat? Did I have my hat, you remember?”

Josh’s face took a more contemplative form. “I don’t remember, dude. Honestly. You make it home all right?”

“Yeah…I made it. I just don’t know what the crap happened to my back pack. Eh, can I use your phone?”

“For sure. I left it upstairs. It’s in my pants pocket.” I climbed the steps up to where the bathrooms and coat hangers are located, pulled out the folded bus schedule and grabbed Josh’s cell phone and dial with hope.

Of course, a phone call of importance always takes the scenic route. One operator leads to the next. The reception goes hay wire. I call back and am put on hold. Finally, I end up talking to the first person I talked to, who has had the information the whole time, and hang up feeling like they’re all laughing at their little desks…What they hell did she mean, I have nothing “matching a back pack” – do they have the  back pack or not? I don’t get it. This is serious!  I’m not trying co-ordinate an outfit, here…

I began my shift just as puzzled as when I woke up.

“Any luck?”

“Nah. They have nothing “matching a back pack,” I parrot. “Maybe I left it at Kincora’s?”

“Maybe. I really don’t remember, dude…I tried to get you in a cab, but you were like ‘nooooo.” Josh broke out that same shit-eating grin he wore at my first arrival. “You remember what happened before you left?” He asked with an ear-to-ear smile.

“Oh yeaaahhh.” This was the part that I was hoping really didn’t happen.

“Passin’ out in the bathroom! HAH! You were takin’ hella long and Sarah was like, “You should go in there” and I was like, “Fuck. I ain’t going in THERE.” Finally, she went in and, dude, you were passed out! She couldn’t get you to wake up so finally she got the bartender to go in there to getchoo.”

“You don’t remember if I had my hat with me?” I probe, hoping to focus the conversation away from that incident.

“Nah. Don’t remember you havin’ a hat.”

“Great….”

It’s all I could think about for the next eight hours, especially with Josh hanging the whole bathroom ordeal over my head and my boss preaching: Maaaiiiinn-taaaaaiiiin. Just say that to yourself whenever you go out drinking. Maaaiiiinn-taaaaaiiiin. You don’t gotta get wasted every time you go out.  You’re not gonna impress anyone; always better to Maaaiiiinn-taaaaaiiiin. C’mon, repeat it along with me – it’s like a mantra. Maaaiiiinn-taaaaaiiiin…

By the end of my shift I just wanted a decent night’s rest and to know where my back pack and hat was. I rushed out at the end of my shift. Just as suspected, Kincora’s wasn’t open. Well, suppose I’ll give ‘em a call later, I thought. I trekked through downtown, giving up all hope. I wondered if there were any other mysterious pedestrians among the crowd of faces that had seen me or my back pack the previous night.

Oh well. Too bad about that back pack, better pick one up next paycheck…how the hell did that banjo song go? I wonder what kind of back pack I should get. I barely even got to wear that hat around town. I could always hassle Metro again tomorrow- and I’ll try that Kincora’s thing again. Maaaiiiinn-taaaaaiiiin.

It had been a long day and I was ready to throw in the towel. There’s always a sense of relief I feel cruising over the West Seattle Bridge, hitting up 35th, just making it back into West Seattle; the knowledge of being able to scour the terrain care-freely. I can get pretty much anywhere in with the confidence that I can make it from Point A to Point B with relative ease. I made my way up the steps from California and now stood looking eastward toward my tiny, comforting home. There stood eight small houses before me, facing each other, four to a side; mine to the furthest right, next to the alley. As I closed in on my dwelling, there seemed to be an object on the front steps. I don’t usually wear my glasses so I allowed myself to get nearer before I confirmed my suspicions.

BANG! BACK PACK.

In what seemed to be delirious dis-belief, I lifted my precious Swiss Army back pack with all of its wondrous pouches and pockets and air-flow back cushion. I set it back down and yanked the zipper to one side. My hat! Check. Why is my hat wet? Dirty work shirt. Check. Journals! Check! My stuff! My sweet, dear, lovelies!

No way.

I opened the door with hurried fervor and sat on my couch with my bag at my feet. There was no question that the contents had been rifled through. Everything was disheveled. My hat was wet. I reasoned that in my drunken state I probably got sick of my new hat being dumped on and put in my bag on my way downtown. What happened afterwards could be anyone’s guess. I made it home, which was the most important part. But, how my back pack made it home was the mystery at hand. I placed my hat on the coffee table and pulled out my dirty work shirts. Next came my notebooks. Who woulda thought? I pondered over whether or not the person who found my bag read any of the crap I scribbled down on those pages. I would have. I would have read every word and judged the person that lost track of their back pack.

I remembered the time my friend Emma got smashed and accidently left her bag on the bus. The sorrow she felt over having to let go of her paperback edition of Moonwalker with all her favorite Michael Jackson quotes underlined, I remembered her Smurf lunch pail that Margie had given her that she used to house an array of trinkets. I remembered how pissed she was when the culprit that found her back pack mailed back her ID. “Fuck that ID,” she would say after opening the envelope. “The inconsiderate muther fucker sent me the most useless, replaceable item outta my entire back pack!”

For a moment, I felt an incredible gratitude towards the kind soul that found my bag. I decided that I was going to read every page that I had scrawled on in those notebooks. It felt good. As I thumbed through the pages I considered what the person that returned my bag thought while they read through years of a stranger’s gibberish and hoo-hah. I found things, ideas, fragments that I had all together forgotten. I saw things that I found enjoyable to read. Huh. I wrote that? Not too shabby…I was thankful. I hoped that the person that kindly decided to find out where I lived thought that my chicken-scratch wasn’t too shabby – that maybe I seemed like a pretty decent person that ought to have their writing back. I found that banjo song I was worried about. Why did I think this was so great?

After finishing up my notebooks, I continued into by bag – so far nothing was taken. I opened the front pouch and found a pay stub. My address. That’s how they knew where I lived. This wonderful human being rifled through my bag, foond my pay stub and dropped my bag off at my door step. All the stress and tensions of the day quickly wavered away. I decided I was never going to carry around multiple notebooks like I was going to fill them up in one day – that would only last a couple weeks. I gotta have something to write on. Maybe that’s how I’ve acquired so many journals throughout my life. Maybe if I were to lose one at least it wouldn’t be jam-packed with irreplaceably crafted sentences and doodles. To this day, I always have a notebook on hand. One – at least if I misplace it I won’t be losing too much. Most of the time I toss my pay stubs away prior to exiting the bank but, on occasion, one will find its way into some random spot in my bag. I’ll catch it every now and again. Smile. And shove back to where ever it came from. You never know when you’re gonna need one of those…

02
Sep
10

John T. Williams Will Be Remembered

Seattle – August 30, 2010 at 4:15 pm a homeless Native man was shot to death. The Seattle Police Department knew him as John T. Williams, the descendant of a wood carving family. Many officers knew him by name and many hated him. There is no doubt in my mind that they hated him and that he was murdered. How do I know that he was well known among our local community of officers? How do I know that he was hated? Quite simply, I work at Dick’s Drive-Ins on Broadway. I’ve worked there for over 5 years and I have witnessed the mistreatment of Mr. Williams firsthand – along with the whole homeless Native posse that oscillate between Downtown and Broadway.

At Dick’s he was known as Poop E. Pants – as none of us knew his name and he was notorious for circling the Dick’s parking lot daily, pestering patrons for change, with fecal stains on the back of his pants. It wasn’t until an officer disclosed his name that we knew him as John T. Williams. An officer once pointed out to a fellow employee that he was a wood carver and (according to the officer) even has a carving in the Smithsonian.

When one thinks of Dick’s Drive-Ins they think of customers who care (somewhat) about what exactly they eat, family business, and charity (as Mr. Dick Spady is well known for his local contributions). This makes Dick’s Drive-Ins an easy target for the homeless and the fiends. In some light, John T. Williams could be considered both. He was homeless and alcohol was his drug of choice. He was relentless to get what he wanted, but he was never violent and no way was was he deserving to be blasted away.

Beyond loitering and drinking in public he understood the law and would give you no reason to use force upon him. He would let you bully him away but would not act violently towards you. Time after time I’ve witnessed managers escorting him off our lot (they say it hurts the business). Time and time again I have witnessed the cops being called on him. Not one of those times did I ever see him try to attack or hurt a single person. He might curse you to high heaven, flip you off and call you a bitch – but he would not lay a finger on you.

He got hit with trespassing, but he wouldn’t let that stop him – as I said earlier, he was relentless – he’d come back and let the cops get called on him. He’s been charged with misdemeanors and indecent exposure, but you couldn’t get much else on him.

On the misdemeanors: He was a drunk and a vagrant. He may have carved beautifully, but he was a drunk. When you’re homeless and want to drink the only place you got is the public. He was not selfish, he was part of the homeless Native posse – a band of alcoholics who hang out on Pike Street and ask for change. All they have is each other and they make sure to look out for one another.

On the indecent exposure: Due to his excessive use of alcohol and continuous beratement he was blinded. He often times came by Dick’s with excrement, if not on his clothing, running down his leg.
He earned the title “Poop E. Pants.”

He didn’t just come to Dick’s as Poop E. Pants. Sometimes he was Poop E. Scrubs, Poop E. No-pants. Poop E. Skirt, Poop E. Boxer-Briefs. Once he shocked us all by bearing bright orange skinny-jeans with (as Janet’s PR would put it) a “malfunctioning” zipper. And yes, he was quite trim for a homeless guy.

In other words, he was a pain. He consumed the SPD’s time and would never have the money to pay off any ticket he was issued. Though many of my co-workers got quite a chuckle over him. I find the issue no laughing matter.

Over the past few years, I’ve seen Mr. Pants up at my work and I’ve seen how many times the cops came to waste their time on this guy. I’ve witnessed officers take his unopened beers, shake them up vigorously, laugh about it and send him on his way because they had nothing on him. I’ve seen my managers (even a fellow employee) go onto our parking lot with a metal pole in attempts to intimidate him. Of course, they wouldn’t hit him with the pole. If they were to strike him it would be wrong. Unjust. Which is exactly why he never pushed, hit, or provoked…it would only give them reason.

It’s been reported that he was shot anywhere from 4-6 times.

Cops hated this guy. They hated him and he was murdered. He hated them right back, he wouldn’t go away – why would he? His ancestors were here much longer than some young cop barking commands at him. He was home.

It was witnessed, by fellow employees, that he spat on an officer days before he was executed. It was witnessed by myself (days before the spitting incident) that he was pushed and shoved by a female officer in front of Dick’s as she told him to get lost, and as she did the other two male cops laughed and smirked as he swore at her, turned around and walked down the street. Reason for dispatch: panhandling at Dick’s Drive-In.

If I were John T. Williams and I got pushed by a cop as others laughed about it – damn right I’d spit on the next who told me what to do.

Mr. Williams was found with a 3 in pocket knife and a piece of wood. I don’t believe for one second that he threatened to harm or endanger any officer – or any one for that matter. An eye witness reported the Seattle Times that he didn’t even “look at the officer,” and I’m damn sure he was just carving. Many of us at Dick’s were impressed with how long he could hang on to a single piece of wood. He even had one board in particular for nearly a month, slowly working away at it. Some co-workers would scoff, remarking that there was nothing on the board, thinking he was walking around with a “sign” as all the junkies on Broadway do…It was no sign. He was showing his carving and asking for change.

In his final weeks he started yelling at the ground and became less responsive to officers. Honestly, he probably just stopped caring about what they had to say – he wasn’t the only homeless Native downtown, and he certainly won’t be the last – and just as Dick’s Drive-Ins is an easy target for the homeless, the homeless are an easy target for the police.

Treat someone like a dog and they will act like a dog.

I know his posse – I’ve had beers with them and conversed with them. I too, am Native American. It’s a sad issue and my heart goes out to all of them. None of them would harm a soul…unless provoked. Some officers make it a part-time job of provoking.

I’ve sat back and watched Mr. Williams get abased by co-workers, bosses, and others who consider themselves “authorities.” They’ve all taken their turns to speak, now I am taking mine. Please, listen.

Authority is merely power without presence. Mr. John T. Williams gave no one authority over him and neither will anyone else from his crew. I pray that he wasn’t used as an example to the other homeless Natives and I pray that the ones that were close to him are given some space for the time being. They have just been provoked. His murder has not not solved one damn problem, it has only created more. Seattle’s homeless Native population is the main issue at hand and recent actions only cause for more tension. I hope the officer in question sleeps well through his paid vacation…he will need plenty of rest.

When officers are murdered they die in Glory, they become Heroes. No one hears on the news about the bribes they were taking, they drugs they were wheelin’ – the drug dealers they were pining against each other and setting up – they die with Honor and become Heroes.

I’m not saying all cops are assholes. In fact, I’m positive that many are out there doing what they think is right and abiding by what they understand to be the “law.” Many strive to make communities safer and are genuinely good human beings. There are a few officers out there that I know personally, I respect what they do and and their hearts are in the right place.

What I am saying is that others die, too. No one will know their story and many won’t care. What I am saying is that it’s a damn shame that there are officers out there laughing and smirking – happy to see Mr. John T. Williams get lost. It’s a damn shame that he be used as an example to others on the street who stick with what they believe in, who are alone in their battles and that back talk the living daylights out of “authorities.”

The day after Mr. Williams was shot to death, the parking lot at Dick’s Drive-In was eerily empty. No one harassing customers. Instead, a few Natives stood out in front next to the newspaper bins – the prime begging spot. The junkies took a day off and out of respect let the Natives have it. I hope some officers, out of respect, give a little space to the homeless Native posse. They are grieving hard. I hope, out of respect, justice is served.

20
May
09

“Had a Bad Day”

Actually – I’ve had a bad three weeks, but that just happens to be the title of a crappy Muzak song that I’m constantly forced to listen to at work. It also happens to be the song that caused me to cheer up. I guess my whole crappiness started around the time I lost my backpack…

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been doing nothing but screwing off and dinkin’ around – pretty much just getting wasted and not focusing on my priorities. It could all just be because I really didn’t want to go to school this quarter but managed to force myself into doing it anyways. It was during my weeks of inebriation that I managed to get blacked-out wasted at a party that I didn’t even want to go to, stumble around incoherently, scrape my knee, and lose track of my backpack.

I’m pretty sure some damn cabby found it in their backseat and kept it all to themselves because of all the awesome treasures inside.

Bonnie even made up some story about how cabbies like to instill education in their children and that maybe the cabby gave it to their kid and now this kid – with my graphing calculator and trig notes – is gonna become some genius who discovers a cure for cancer or something. Nice try Bonnie.

I called all the cab companies around and was told “I’m sorry, we have nothing matching a backpack.” I know he went straight to his Cabby Circle and bragged about the sweet loot he scored off of some drunk chick who happens to be a very generous tipper around 3 o’clock in the morning.

I can get over losing all my notes for the quarter, I’m over having to purchase another copy of “Heart of Darkness” and I sure as hell don’t care about my dirty work-shirt. It was the loss of my graphing calculator that stabbed the knife in and it was the the fact that I’ll never see my composition book (that’d I’d been working in for a couple of years) that really twisted the blade; especially since I know that I had just written down a couple of songs for my banjo that I, for the life of me, will never remember.

Well, I finally got my bike, that’s been settin’ brokenly in my kitchen for the past year, fixed and I finally got my ID renewed (which expired nine months ago) so I thought things would finally be pickin’ up, but I just can’t seem to dig myself outta this funk. And my ever so unstable living situation surely hasn’t helped.

So, I decided to surround myself around some good company and have a barbecue down at Lincoln Park on Sunday and kick it in the sunshine. The barbecue was good – ate some meat, drank some beer, hung out with friends I don’t get to see that often because I’m too busy at the Pity Party, but I also managed to play hookie from school on Thursday and Monday – which translates into “I didn’t do any homework. I just spent a bunch of money.”

Yup. I somehow (I know exactly how) didn’t care that I practically threw six hundred dollars down the drain – only two-fifty actually went to a “good cause.” The rest – Down the Drain.

It was yesterday when I decided enough is enough: Time to undo all the damage I caused over the last few weeks and get back to business. I put myself back on restriction – no more alcohol or “fun” until the end of the quarter – it won’t be too bad, just two more math exams (with some homework on the side) and two five page papers and a history final. All will be well.

Yesterday also happened to be a test run. I knew Bobby had the night of drinking in mind – but, alas, I said no. Of course, he replied with “Well, just ’cause you goofed off for the last three weeks…you can’t come over and watch Southland with me? C’mon, you’re not really gonna do your homework anyways.”

You bastard – you were the cause of a lot of goofing off and I’m not falling for it this time. No. I will not watch Southland with you. Yes, I will do my homework.
And that was it. I passed.

So I did end up doing homework, which felt productive, but I’m not too convinced that I’ll be doing Summer quarter this year. All that crap crammed into eight weeks…and the sunshine…and the bike rides…and the FUN. Well, I might take one class.

Anyhoo.

I couldn’t get any sleep last night – a good sign that I’m back – and so I got some history crap outta the way and started a book we have two weeks to finish. I had every intention of going to sleep at a decent time, but it gets a little hard with the thinking and planning and once 5:30 hits and the birds surely aren’t shutting up there’s no going back.

I will repair all the damage I have done. I will be productive and I will go to the coffee shop at six in the morning and force myself to read a damn book (which is actually really interesting) and I will not make a repeat of the previous incidences.

It was at the coffee shop when the “Had a Bad Day” song started blaring. Man, I hate that song. Not just because it’s crappy, but (as most crappy songs do) it gets lodged in my damn brain and I just can’t shake it.

The first time I smiled about that song was when an old co-worker came up to me and said, “I got a lot of respect for that song.” Then he told me some elaborate story about how this gal was addicted to drugs and turned her life around and that’s what the song is about.

I replied, “It’s a guy, Kyle.”

He shook his head and that was the end of that for a couple of days – until he came up to me and said, “You know, I think it IS a guy. Huh.”

Huh.

Well, I was sitting at the coffee shop, getting into my book when the song kicked in and I thought, Kyle’s got a lot of respect for this song.Then I turn to the left of me and there’s this bum guy with his cup of coffee staring out the window nodding his head up and down to the song. For some reason, perhaps the sleep deprivation, I couldn’t help but smile and think – He’s got a lot of respect for this song.




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