Friday Five – When Was The Last Time You…

1) …sent a handwritten letter? I wrote my dad a letter for Father’s Day. Other than holidays of that nature, you won’t find me handwriting much of anything. On ocassion I hand write my journal entries or other writing, but most of the time it’s all done on the computer.

2) …baked something from scratch or made something by hand? My defintion of baking is putting something in the micorowave, cooking something pre-packaged on the stove or warming something up in the toaster oven. The last time I cooked something was at least a year ago, if not longer. I honestly don’t even remember.

3) …camped in a tent? The last time I camped in a tent was on New Year’s Eve 2000. I was in Sequoia National Park with my dog and girlfriend at the time. If it wasn’t the best New Year’s I have ever had, then it was at the very least, the most beautiful. We had a fire going and just watched the stars and froze our asses off. It was seventeen degrees when we woke up in the morning.

4) …volunteered your time to church, school, or community? I volunteer my time to you, dear readers, every time I post to this site or the other one. Isn’t that enough? I give money to good causes and email a lot of letters to politicians about issues I care about.

5) …helped a stranger? I’ll just post a journal entry from November 9, 2001 to answer this one.

I had to do something to make me feel a little human…or something. It was actually a friend’s suggestion to take a walk down Hollywood Blvd, which I have never done in the nearly four years that I have lived in Los Angeles. So I drove to Hollywood and Highland, parked and set out walking up and down Hollywood Blvd. to look for some homeless people to give some money to. I didn’t give everything away because I really didn’t run in to that many. As a matter of fact, the first guy that I saw sitting down against a wall with his legs pulled into his chest, I asked, “Can I help you?”

“Are you a cop,” he replied.

I chuckled and shook my head, “no.”

He said he was looking for crack or dope. I said I really couldn’t help him out with that. I even offered him some money, but he didn’t take it.

The next guy I ran in to had just gotten in from Denver via the Greyhound. He was a trashy punk kid that probably hadn’t showered in a while. He said he painted houses and it was getting too cold in Colorado, so he decided to come here. I sat and talked with him for a while. He was a 20 year-old with broken teeth and some crusty blood on his lip.

I sat squated down next to him. I asked him what he was going to do. He said he was going to get a job counselor and get some food stamps while he was here and look for work. I asked if he would be able to find work very easily and he replied with an enthusiastic, “yes.”

“Last time I was in town, I found work in no time,” he explained.

I asked if he wrote or read and he pulled out some science fiction book that was stuffed in his sleeping bag that was attached to his backpack.

“I go to the library during the day and check out some books and magazines, mostly. I also use the Internet.”

I had to wonder what he used the Internet for, but I did’t ask. I didn’t feel sorry for him. I didn’t feel anything really. I spoke to him as a human being and not down to him in any way. I told him to take care, gave him a few bucks and continued on my way.

It was amazing to me what Hollywood Blvd. looked like. I don’t know what I was expecting. It was certainly looking a lot cleaner. They’re building the area up to look like Times Square or something. I saw a lot stars on the sidewalk, of course.

I just kept walking. Eventually I made it to La Brea, crossed the street and walked east again. They were blocking a major section of the street off for a film, so I had to turn around and cross to the other side of the street. I peaked in some stores and just watched the sidewalk pass before my feet. It was nice to be out and maybe I was doing something good, if not for me, for a few other people. I stopped at a newsstand on the corner of Cuheanga and picked up a back of smokes. A guy was wheeling himself across the intersecion that I was about to cross. I looked at him.

“Can you help a homeless guy out?” he asked.

“Yeah, of course,” I replied.

“God bless you.”

I smiled,” no, God bless you.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because we’re all just human, man.”

He stuck out his filthy hand to shake. I stared at the stub left from an amputated leg for a second. I took his hand in mine and shook it. That felt good. Though I didn’t dare do anything with that hand. I found myself afraid of what filth was now on my hand. I crossed the intersection, smoking my cigarette.

As I got close to Highland again I ran into the punk that I gave some money to. He was with a couple of other young punks and a little puppy. They asked if I could spare some change for a burger or something. I gave them a five to split. One of them, a kid with a mohawk, asked if he could buy a smoke off me. I politely said no, but said I would give him some. I pulled out several smokes from my pack and handed them over. He thanked me and I was on my way.