Are You Homeless? Being Homeless Is Hard. And Prayers For Merecedes Benz

I arrived Tuesday night to the first pavilion, before the pizza, and before the YWAMers.  Cindy saw me and gave me a hug.  I’m not sure if Cindy is homeless or not.  I know for a while she was collecting cans.  She has self appointed herself as an administrator of sorts on pizza nights.  When I arrived she made sure to let me know that she texted RK that I had arrived.

A line had formed and made its way through the pavilion and out to the sidewalk.  There was a bunch of banter between people.  It’s always funny to see tourists trying to figure out whats going on.

I didn’t see Keith there, but I saw Martin.  I’ve written about Martin before briefly, and I wondered if I’d see him when I came down last week.  I couldn’t recall his name right away since I haven’t been down there in a while.  But luckily when I saw him it came back to me.

Martin was drunk.  So drunk he was having to lean up against someone else who introduced himself as his father.  I couldn’t figure out if really was his father or not.  I had seen this guy before, and didn’t think it was.  I figured it out later that it wasn’t.  As I approached Martin and said hello he looked at me and said, “I didn’t do it.”

“Didn’t do what?” I asked
“I just got out of jail.”  Martin responded
“For what?”  I asked
His “father” leaned over and said, “I just got out too, we were in at the same time.”

He pulled some papers out of his pocket, almost falling over, and he showed them to me.  Inmate personal items inventory was written across the top of one of the papers.  The other papers had case numbers on them.  I asked him what he got locked up for.  “I had warrants.”  He said

Somewhere along the line Martin asked me if I was a cop.  For some reason homeless people always think I’m a cop.  I’m not sure what that is about, but I’ve gotten that question more than once and not just in Hawaii.    I think I missed my calling.

Martin told me his birthday for some reason.  Oh his “father” said that his birthday was next week.  Then Martin told me his birthday, and told me he was born in 86.  Which means he’s 2 years younger than me, which seems crazy to me.

He wanted to sit down and be left alone.  Martin is always apologizing to me.  Apologizing for cussing, or talking about alcohol or cigarettes, or asking to be left alone.  I went to leave to respect what he asked, but then he wanted me to sit next to him.

Anyway, the conversation went as well as a conversation with a drunk person goes.

I saw Barbara at the front of the line getting her pizza.  I followed her to the back of the line so she could get a second piece.  I walked up behind her in line and hello to her.  She looked surprised to see me and asked me where I’d been.

She told me how the culture down in Waikiki was changing.  She told me how grants are being written to help homeless people and all it’s doing is hiring more people to take their stuff.  She told me that her stuff had been taken by HPD and that to get it back its like $300.

We chit chatted a bit in line.  Her friend Adrianne came up.  She was the first person that I spoke to on my very first outreach down there.  Everyone could see that she hadn’t gotten her first piece of pizza and told her to go to the front of the line.

One of the new YWAMers tried to talk to me and Barbara as we were in line.  I could tell he didn’t know who I was.  He later came up to me and asked I was homeless.  I called him by name and said I lived at the YWAM base too.

I saw Barbara eating her pizza on a bench behind the pavilion so I went and sat down next to her.  I noticed she had a small baby stroller next to her and I asked her if she had been hiding something from me.  She laughed and said “at my age I need the wheels.”

We went on to talk about how she missed eating healthy and how she loved vegetables.  But out here she didn’t get very many vegetables, raising her pizza as she said it.  She told me she liked cooked vegetables because of her teeth, but not too cooked.

“I don’t know much about organized religion.”  She said
“Well how were you raised?”  I asked
“Cathloic.”  She responded
“Oh so you know the basics then, we’re all sinners…”
She interrupted.  “I’m not a sinner, I’m just human.”
I started to explain myself, but decided against it.
“I’m going to make 63 next month.”  She said proudly.
While we were sitting on the bench it started raining.

“Did I ever tell you that being homeless is hard?”  She said as she hit me on the shoulder.

That statement coming from her as it started raining hit me in the heart.
“Is there anything I can bring you next week, that will make it easier for you?”  I asked
“No, but thank you”  She responded politely
“Not even some vegetables?”  I asked
“No way to cook them.”  She said

She stood up and began packing up her things.

“I know how to pray, do you want to hear my prayer?”  She asked
“Sure!”  I responded
She began to sing, not in a beautiful way, but in an authentic way, true to its original that I had to look up.

“Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?”


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