Today was a slow day at work. So in between phone calls, emails and the one fitting I had, I actually did some technical work on my game. Right now I am not driving and putting the way I would like. Driver and putter got some serious attention, detailed. I feel better after that, we’ll see if it has immediate effect.
So anyways, I was reading my blogs and I realized that I never really explained why or how I became homeless in the year 2000.
It all began with what I like to call “Hell Week.” Although I’ve had some tougher days and weeks in my life this is up on the list. It was April 1999, just a couple of dumb kids that recently moved to southern California to have a go at it. Everything was going pretty well, we both had secured jobs and I was going to school. Relationships are hard sometimes and people can grow apart.
Day #1 I return home one night from work. We rented this cute little one bedroom cottage up against a mountain, cheap. We had a couple of cats. Life was okay, from my eyes. As I look back at it now, life was not okay. I was a unattentive boy, selfish. I probably earned what was coming. Hindsight, I and we could have tried harder but we were just kids and didn’t really know what we were doing. I walk in the door to the words, “I’m leaving…” “Cool, when will you be back?” I said like a dumbass. “Look around you,” I look down and see packed luggage, “I’m going to live with my mother, we are done.” Shocked and tears rolled, realization.
Day #2 April 20, 1999, Columbine High School Shootings. I try and try and try to call my mom, my aunt, someone who knows what’s going on. I finally get through and hear that the relative I have no longer goes to Columbine, relief. I still had a hard day, I am sensitive to world tragedies, to this day I have a hard time. I did not go to school that day and called into work sick. I tried to relax but to no avail. Sleep would elude me for pretty much this entire week. I pretty much didn’t move for Days 3 and 4.
Day #5 Off to work I go, semi-renewed. Then all the sudden, on the I-5, my car won’t go into gear. I try as hard as I can but cannot get it into any gear. Transmission fried. Keep in mind, no cell phones. If you’ve every been stranded on a major highway in California you know that not a soul will stop for you unless you are disturbing traffic. I got out and tried to flag down help, nothing. I was really scared, 21 years old, no phone, what to do. I sat there for hours and then I saw something. Basically a yellow box on a pole about half mile away, emergency phone. They are all over the place here, a fact I wasn’t aware of. I got a tow truck to come and get me back to my house. Now what?
Day #6 F#@k work, F#$k school. I stayed home and weighed out my situation, not wanting to just call home and get help from Mom, pride. I kind of just wasted a day and then decided to go for a walk, a long walk. It was a beautiful afternoon, I remember a cool breeze. I must have walked for 5 or 6 hours. As I turned up my street I saw nothing but police cars. The house directly across from ours was surrounded with cars, both marked and not. They were there all night.
Day #7 When I woke up the next morning the cops had gone. The guys across the street were pretty cool, the only other Caucasians on the block. Two old hippies, one guy was in his late forties with long hair, tie-dyed shirts and played the guitar. The other was named Bill, I remember this for obvious reasons. He was probably only in his late thirties to early forties. Bill had a lot of similar interest as me. He liked snowboarding and the outdoors, an accomplished climber. The couple times we spoke we made plans to go snowboarding that winter. He often spoke of old friends that lived in Alaska and ran a heli-ski business, I badly wanted to go. That morning, I saw only Long hair, on the porch strumming away but the tune was not his upbeat way, it was more blues. “What’s going on?” I inquired. I expected to hear something about drugs, Bill had some priors, or even robbery or something, anything. “Bill killed his step-dad last night. He called his mom and step-dad, said I’m going to be there in 15 minutes and I’m going to kill you both. His mom got scared and left the house. He stayed, Bill showed up 15 minutes later and killed him with an ice climbing axe.” I remember that axe, Bill told me a great ice climbing story and even showed me the axe. “He went to drive to Mexico, as he was gassing up at a circle K, he saw two cops getting coffee. Bill walked right up to them and asked to be arrested, I guess guilt got the best of him.” I sat there with old what’s his name for hours, he told me all about Bill’s troubled relationship with his Mom and new Dad. Then, as I was leaving, he says, ” oh and by the way, I’m gay… so…” He shut the door. To this day I’m not sure why he told me that. I walked right down the street to the circle K and got a case of Bud and bottle of Jack. I drank myself silly for 2 days, at least.
Finally, I called my mom. My sister Cindy had spent some time in San Diego and mom knew a guy that was a mechanic. Through some work I got his number. With a loan from my brother, I got a transmission and he installed it for me right in front of my house. He also revealed that he had a room that was empty and would gladly let me live there, 2 months for free until I get on my feet and then a little rent after that. I felt rescued, or so I thought. Southern California taught me a lot of lessons, some I’m still learning today. There are a bunch of stories from the time I spent in San Diego County, I will end up telling them all and they end with me homeless, in my car for 45 days. That ends with “Golf, just a game?” An earlier entry I wrote. It’s funny, some of the details of this story I don’t remember so well, like long hair’s name, but the quotes are exact. Crazy what you remember and forget.