Please Know...

As I come to know these fine people, they share with me more of their personal and sensitive stories. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist. "Blog names" have occasionally been given to me by the person whose story I am telling. Names are never their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.


Friday, February 1, 2019

Madison's Avenue

I arrived outside Emerald City at 8:00am yesterday morning[1] to see the street closed off by Philadelphia Police, trash trucks ready to digest worldly belongs, News Media representing all of Philadelphia's Press Organizations with video cameras rolling, outreach workers, street chaplains and the remaining sixty or so soon to be homeless-homeless human beings.[2]  With a wind chill of something like -15, packing was being done in various stages.  Some people were already gone.  Others were all but done packing. 

Be advised that there is one really crude quote in this blog that needs to be there and in context so that you can have some sense of the emotional pain involved in the moment.

And then there was Madison.  With a look on her face and body language of desperation, as if life as she had created it was being ripped from her, Madison was just starting to pack things up two hours before the police were to call "Time's Up." and the trash trucks would start digesting everything left behind.

The wonderful people of Prevention Point were providing large tubs for Emerald City residents to store items in for up to 30 days.  Madison and I quickly filled three of those tubs with the second most important items she owned.  Many of the first most important, items she felt were readily needed are in the back seat of my car as I write this.

With several bags of most needed items gathered, we loaded them into my car.  My hands were screaming in pain from the cold even with my gloves on.  I can't imagine what the people on the streets were feeling at this point. 

Madison said that she'd not eaten since some time the day before, had not slept, had not had her medicine and was starting to feel the early stages of dope sickness.  We agreed that going to the Wawa on Aramingo would be a good first thing to do so she could get something to eat.  She took one of her bags into the women's room where she washed up and got changed into some slightly clean clothes.  After that, she ate her favorite Wawa item: Chicken Noodle Soup while we sat in my car.  Together, we sorted out the options.

By the time Madison had gotten out of my car close to the now abandoned Emerald City, sometime around 11:30am, she had made it clear to me and two housing authority volunteers who we coincidentally met at Wawa, that she had no intention of going to a shelter or detox at this time. 

Her plan was to exist[3] on the street, possibly move into an abandoned house and continue "to support my extensive drug use by sucking any guy's dick who will give me 10 or $20.00".  The last few minutes of her time in my car she spent using the makeup mirror of the passenger side sun visor to put on her makeup in preparation for standing at a nearby intersection to find a "date."

To see Madison dressed up and ready for a date in any other setting, you would be convinced that she is a young executive heading to an important business meeting.  Her external appearance is that of a professional with grand plans.  Her internal reality is far from that.

I have no idea where Madison is as I look out my suburban apartment window and watch the snow falling.  I can only pray that she decided to seek shelter in a shelter.  Pray for Madison and all of the men and women on the streets whose "Entity Named Addict" has decided to keep on the streets during this frigid time. 



[1] January 31, 2019
[2] who all endure the diagnosis of Substance Use Disorder as officially recognized in the DSM-5
[3] "I don't live out here.  I only exist." She told me.

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