Sleeper Car

            Life is funny.  Well it has to be, as sometimes it hurts too much to live it.  When looking at life we have two choices; carry on or get carried out.  No matter how bad things get I figure it is always better to carry on.

            I am at a time in my life that I am getting squeezed by so many outside forces that I look and feel like a stress doll.  I'm not complaining, well maybe I am, but the reality is I just laugh about it. I have no money, and by no money, I mean NO money.  The last time I had two pennies to rub together Lincoln was still warm.  I am preparing for bad news from my doctor this week, eating bread sandwiches, scraping gas money together so I can get to work, and preparing to go back to stripping to pay the rent.

            Now lesser souls would throw in the towel, hang their heads and cry.  Not me, that's what they want.  I say when life gives you lemons, throw them back at life, and laugh.  I mean who wants that much lemonade?  There is no point getting down, after all, I'm already there, so I just decide to take a look at the absurdity of my life and laugh.  I look at each day as an adventure.

            Example? Sure, one night, due to some unforeseen circumstances, I had to sleep in my car.  It's funny how before the situation arises you really don't think about it.  The park closes at midnight and the cops kick you out, sleeping in a Walmart parking lot isn't that appealing, and sleeping on the side of the road is just not an option.  So what does a homeless, but car rich person do? 

            First, I go to Eat n Park for some cheap food, coffee, and a restroom break.  After getting that out of the way, you find an apartment complex, grab your emergency blanket and pillow, and climb in the back seat of the car, covering yourself so the car itself looks empty to the casual observer.  Don't laugh, this is a true story. 

            When you wake up, a little stiff, it is time to get ready for work.  Now you can head into the park.  I would suggest finding a shelter off the beaten path.  I have two that I have used.  These are great places to put on my work clothes, brush my teeth and wash my hair.  What? I hear you say.  Yes I have done this.  It is important to carry at least two gallons of water with you to take care of hygiene issues.  A towel is also a great thing to have with you, as well.  There is nothing quite like sitting shirtless, hair dripping, on a picnic bench watching deer, squirrels, and nature in general on a crisp September morning.  Of course, the occasional dude walking his dog can make it weird, but such is life.

            After cleaning and dressing, it is time to head back to Eat n Park for a cheap breakfast, coffee and bathroom break.  Now I would never wash my hair, self, brush my teeth or shave in a restroom.  As hard as it is for some of you to believe right now, I do have standards, and a rechargeable razor. 

            In closing folks, there may be times when I am down, but I am not out.  Being homeless once in a while is no big deal, in fact it's a character builder, and proves that I can survive.  Also, I am luckier than others who don't have somewhere to stay 365 days a year.  I look at my circumstances, accept them, and enjoy them for what they are, a chance to live the adventure that is life.  Whatever life throws at you, remember to either duck or catch it, and keep moving forward.  Irritate the people that want to see you fail by smiling and enjoying the life you are living. 

            Keep calm and carry on!

My Life

Handicapped Parking

           I live in an apartment, and the stories I could tell you, but today I want to address one of my pet peeves about my wonderful apartment complex, Stoney Creek. To say that parking is limited in my world would be an understatement. Often after returning home from a late night working, I’ve had to walk a quarter mile to my building.  While this is frustrating, it is not what has gotten under my skin.

            We often hear of the wonders of the Americans with Disabilities Act, better known as the ADA, and how it is helping the disabled.  I guess my landlord is still living in the 1940s; granted that’s how old my carpet is, but really, join the rest of the world.  My friend had a stroke and has difficulty walking and using her arm.

            We asked the landlord to designate a parking spot near her building, to make things a little more manageable. They did and painted the internationally recognized symbol for the disable in a parking spot. Granted it was blue, on black asphalt, and the size of a pizza pan, but what the heck. Problem solved, right? Not quite; no one could see it, and we spent much time contacting the landlord about the issue. The police were, well more about them later.

            I learned that to get a “real” handicap parking space for her, we had to buy the sign, which I did.  When it arrived, she took it to the office for them to put up.  She was informed she also needed to buy the hardware and pole to place it on. (I should mention that this is a standard at Stoney Creek if you need handicapped parking.) After purchasing that, it was grudgingly put up. Problem solved, right? Not really. You may find this hard to believe, but people are lazy and ignorant. I know, shocking!

            So you have a group of disabled apartment dwellers, each with their own purchased sign that has the parking permit number displayed for the entire world to see.  Recently, the situation has gotten worse, the allegedly normal people either can’t read or don’t care, or both, and have been parking in the disabled parking spots. There is nothing quite like watching someone with a disability struggle with a wheelchair through the snow covered lot, or a stroke victim trying to carry groceries a quarter mile to their apartment, while a healthy person hops out of their car and jogs into his apartment building. FYI-handicapped parking is not there to make your life easier, but for those who actually have a disability.

            Enter the protectors of the downtrodden, enforcers of the law, the Bethel Park Police Department. At first they would come and write a ticket for a sign violation, but after the second time down, things changed. First it was a private lot, and then it was the sign didn’t post a warning of being towed or fined, and then finally, it was the fact that the symbol on the ground wasn’t the correct size.  Basically, they couldn’t be bothered to “serve and protect.”

            As a result, if you come at the right time of the night, thanks to an ever caring landlord too cheap to put the “correct” signage up, and the less than zealous Bethel Park PD, you can watch a re-make of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, as the disabled struggle to get to their apartment buildings over a snow covered, icy, pothole filled, uneven parking lot.

            As for the police, of which I was one of years ago; if I hear I need to be understanding or sympathetic to their plight and difficulties of the job; all I’ll say is this, you’re only as good as the criminals you protect.


Bathroom Break

            We have become so lazy that we no longer even do the simple things.  Perhaps I really mean the decent thing. I speak of today’s modern bathrooms that are being used in businesses around the country.  The new technology being used in the toilet, sink and hand drying is leading to a new generation of lazy, inconsiderate people.

            Have you noticed that in a bathroom that does not have the new technology you are often greeted by a yellow puddle in the urinal, or a poop blanket party in the toilet?  My friends, if you do not hear a swoosh sound; chances are that YOU may have to actually flush the potty yourself.  Here is another clue for you.  If the sink has handles on either side of the spigot, the water will not turn on no matter how long you hold your hands under it.  YOU must actually turn it on. There is a similar process with the soap. There are times when YOU actually need to press the dispenser to get soap on your hands.

            Finally, there are things called paper towels, and yes, sometimes you have to turn a handle or push a bar for them to come out.  Shaking your formally dirty hands to dry them off, and spraying me with dirty water, is poor form.  While we are on the subject of hand dryers, just a warning to the great unwashed, everyone in the place can hear them blowing, so everyone knows if you actually washed your hands.           

          It would be nice if you would exert at least the same amount of energy you use taking a dump, to cleaning up after yourself.