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Today at the Showers

With priority for people experiencing homelessness…

Over the last two years I’ve greeted and held the door for thousands of people who wanted a shower. Yesterday we had a guy who just hiked 2,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. He asked my crew for a shower in a thick Australian accent: “I’m not technically homeless, but I’ve been hiking since April 28th.”

“Well the sign says ‘priority for the homeless,’ which means that if Bill Gates asks I’ll let him in a shower. But he has to wait for anyone homeless. We’ve got one clean for you” I told him.

I’ve seen lots of ways that human beings live their lives. I try to see “humanity beyond culture” and welcome anyone human.

We do see what you might expect at a public shower.

Today I’ve gotten to see all the expected elements of “street life” in one day:

Prostitutes, pitbulls, synthetic heroin,  guns, and a big sparkling bag of methamphetamine crystals.

Here’s a fun one: peace.

Our security guard disposed of the drugs, the prostitutes were polite, and that pitbull trotted away with a shiny coat and his tail held high.

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A Social Species

A few feet from the site where we give out free showers, there’s an outdoor fridge full of free food.

A few minutes ago, a lady came by with two boxes of hygiene and beauty products. According to the girls I work with, these pink lotions and potions would cost hundreds of dollars if found in a store.

We’re a highly social species. It’s why we’ve spread across the globe like mold over bread. We offer each other the bread before the mold eats it.

When we aren’t busy disagreeing and going to war with other tribes of human beings, we’re helping each other out. Social media can help us go to war, or help us help. It’s new and powerful.

Being social has been going on for tens of thousands of years.

A man from a tribe that cooks soup came by earlier. His group has all the ingredients to put into pots and pans, and all the hands needed to hand out soup – but they were told not to use their kitchen anymore.

Know a kitchen he and his friends can use?

Get ahold of me. You can find me on FB using a smartphone. Using these devices daily is new for me because all I saw smartphones doing for a long time was tearing communities apart. But it can tear us apart through endlessly dividing beliefs or bring us together with food – the usefulness of a telephone-that-thinks depends on what you want.

The social part of you, the community part, is old and powerful.

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A Sad Prediction

I pay attention to patterns in the world around me. What I see people actually do, and how things move and change in societies, is often different than the patterns shown to us by pixels on the screen of a TV or phone.

From watching the big patterns of human behavior in the year 2020, I can say this:

By November 26th of 2021 we’ll be told to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” once again.

Just as in 2020, “the order will last for two weeks” and “could be extended.”

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Free Showers

Every human can use some warm water on their body.

During the winter months, a half-hour of warm water on human toes helps you keep all ten of them.

I’ve been doing this shower-thing for a year now. Today I worked out some math with my boss:

Our team has given out over 10,000 showers over the last year.

People of all kinds showed up for warm water.

People stroll up from all walks of life, but mostly walking the paths that go outside.

Some humans are wonderfully fulfilled by being outside, others think being inside will make them happy.

We had a suited man show up carrying a briefcase full of shame, and a woman who showed up wearing nothing.

The man in the suit eventually left the outdoors and returned to being a lawyer. I’m not certain being a lawyer is a happy existence for a human being, but I was happy to feel his joy when he told me about his new apartment.

We gave the naked woman a garbage bag and she made a miniskirt. My friend gave her the shirt off his back and she sang a song.

No matter where you get your warm water, I’d like you to feel free to feel fulfilled by being alive.

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Goddess Animal Woman

While saying thanks to the All and Everything this morning,

she raised the roof of the universe

and then took that opportunity to sniff both armpits.

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Jeff Beezleboss Goes to Space

Jeff Beezleboss Goes to Space!

(QSF – Some Quick Short Fiction I wrote to blow off steam)

Press Release: Super-Billionaire Jeff Beezleboss (pictured) announced yesterday that he will be flying into space on his shiny new rocketship The Blue Shepard. In an interview he shared his plan:

Q: Jeff, you are clearly the best person on the planet, having made over $75,000,000,000.00 (Bloomberg figures) in the year 2020 alone while the median US income was only $61,937.00 (Motley Fool figures.) What amazing things do you plan to do in space?

A: “I will build my Moon Mansion and fire missiles at both poles of the Earth.”

Q: Why?

A: “The core of the planet may be filled with gold and I want it.”

Q: Great! I’m certain that once you own all of that gold you will use it to help the remaining population.

A: “Certainly. The remaining population who survive the mining process will be employed as Mechanical Turks.”

Q: But Jeff, what if it turns out that no gold is inside the planet? How can you justify the $2,600,000.00 (Space dotcom figures) auctioned value of the spaceflight you intend to take yourself?

A: (chuckles) “That “two million dollars” to me is like spending two bucks for you, relative to my 2020 income. Even if I only had the money I made last year alone… while all the stores that weren’t mine were locked and boarded up… 2.6million is like spending $2.15 for me to go to space on July 20th.”

Q: Wow, you are clearly worth more than anyone on the planet. Is there anything else you’d like to do for the rest of us human beings who are worth less than you are?

A: “Well, I guess while I’m up there I could spray aerosols over the sun and make a permanent eclipse to solve climate change for you guys. You’re welcome.

Bye!”

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Dents on his own roof

When my son was little he liked to climb on top of my car. It was an old Crown Victoria so I let him put dents on my roof.

Now he is much larger and he can do whatever he wants.

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Loneliness

“Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.” – CG Jung

When a boy in Indianapolis was very young, his mother wondered why the boy stared at the dictionary. Why did he turn its pages for hours?

He hadn’t taken many steps yet, but his mouth made many sounds. Most began with a pattern that looks like these letters:

“Actually…”

But whenever he said this, the sounds that followed were unexpected and strange to people around him.

The boy’s father was frightened by these sounds even though he was a man who ran into burning buildings when he heard howling sirens.

So the mother drove the boy to the nearest university to find out what might be wrong.

“What’s wrong with my son’s brain?” she asked, hoping for an important explanation.

“Or what’s right with it?” she asked with even more hope.

The men at the University had capitalized letters after their names and everyone could see they understood anything important.

They lifted their clipboards and told her:

“We will find out!”

They asked the little boy questions.

The boy’s mouth moved in answers. “This is to this as that is to that” was the pattern the men seemed to enjoy hearing most, and the boy enjoyed making these sounds. Eventually the clipboards were filled up by letters. The men added the letters and made up a number they said was important.

“We have measured and tested the boy’s brain, and now we will explain him to you,” the men told the mother. She listened carefully.

She asked for a copy of the papers on their clipboards, because some of the patterns were ones she had very much hoped to hear and see.

Staring at the papers many years later, the boy thought of how much his mother had seemed to enjoy the letters, and especially the made up numbers.

But when his brain made them all into a larger pattern it looked like this:

“You’ll look around at a beautiful and terrible world and usually feel unable to communicate the patterns that seem most important.”

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Boundaries of Behavior

I work for a non-profit that helps people.

Over the winter I offered people half-hour showers in the type of portable hygiene stations that construction sites use.

Our site is in one of the best spots in the city for people who needed warm water over the winter. Directly in front of a playground that was closed for over a year.

It’s now open.

My clients are the type of human beings who need help.

One of them has now urinated in front of the playground on multiple occasions. Parents called police.

We were told yesterday by city employees not to allow him to take showers here for a period of 364 days.

This morning, after the man threatened my boss, and many radio calls were made back and forth, we were told by another set of city employees (including police) that we must continue to allow him to come here.

I put his name on the list, because I cannot enforce all boundaries alone.

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