Street Life: A Day in the Life

by Riccardo Taylor

Overwhelmed, I address the day! Ah! Sounds like a line from a distressed position. Well, let’s say that, that is subject to interpretation.

Street life is in and of itself a stressful and unpredictable way of living, without rewards or guarantees it is the reality of many people. The order of the day is one of disarray, yet it has it’s structure, the flow is not routine, yet, desires are filled and missions accomplished! Sounds distorted I suppose? Well, the certainty of distortion is the starting point of each and everyday in the life. So, let’s take a look at a day in the life.

As the sun rises so shall I! Up and moving before the birds start their ritual morning call I am looking for a line to stand in, to receive one of the services I’ll surely need before the day ends. Everything from a shower to a meal has to be concluded before I can call this day a success, so I take on that old so familiar shuffle, hurrying to be first in the line. Hesitations, or procrastinations result in setbacks; your survival and welfare depend on being timely.

So, one would think that in being homeless, or a street person as I prefer, that life has to be easy! Well, of course we have the usual pains and pleasures, the ups and downs like every other group, yet there is much more to it than just having a place to rest your head or a bowl to eat from. It’s about surviving! Ah! Again that idea of interpretation comes into play, we have to understand from whose point of view are looking. Having that understanding of what makes for success in the street is open to interpretation. For as many individuals who live the lifestyle there are that many interpretations. A single day can make the difference between success and failure in the struggle for survival; therefore, one has to be mindful of where they want to be and where they are headed. And last but not least, where do we want to be tomorrow.

A day in the life starts out typically. A thousand and one ideas running through your mind trying to determine what is the best option for a little relief? Now we have the necessaries that we have to prioritize, a few dollars in my pockets, a shower, or a meal, in what order are they needed? Well, let’s see. The few dollars can take me much farther, so I need to go to work. Again we do have some options, but I think that money is always the top priority, so by the end of the day I have a plan!

I need to work today, so upon awakening at the chirping of the birds, I am off to the labor hall. It’s first come first served; if you will, so I standing in line at a quarter to five. After I am signed in I can take that bathroom break to freshen up. Touting my shoulder bag, which contains all my worldly possessions and is apart of my dress, I can prepare for the day. A quick washing of hands and face allows me to be present¬able on the job. I have a sense of appreciation; getting this opportunity to get in a days work, will allow me to access the few things I need for comfort and give me a start tomorrow. So I spend the day laboring for minimum wage! Well, it’s like I always say, if you don’t work you don’t eat!

By the end of the workday I am tired and hungry! It was at the break of dawn that I started this day and now it’s after six in the evening; a productive one in the sense that I did get to make a few dollars, ah A few dollars indeed! Generally by this time all I can think of is a bit to eat and somewhere to lay my head. A few dollars indeed! After all the taxation and rental fees for equipment I have a total of twenty-eight dollars and extremely tired feet! I have to be both frugal and mindful with this payment, as I don’t know when I’ll have the chance, or opportunity to spend a whole day at work again. I just have to keep with the flow, and do as needed when I can. All told I can say that today was a success, although it didn’t change much in my life circumstance, however I can feel pretty good when I lay down with these few dollars know¬ing I have a start for tomorrow. Ah, tomorrow! Another day in the life!

Yeah, well we will just have to wait and see what tomorrow truly brings. One thing is for sure it will be totally different from today. Same destinies, options and results; life’s expectations, we shall do it again just using another way for getting there.