Subtitle: My job exposes me to parts of humanity most people don’t even read about.

So, the Monday Night through Tuesday Morning shift was day four of my four day rotation. All in all, it had been reasonably dull. I’m in a bit of a pissing match with my direct supervisor, so that served for some mild entertainment, but overall, not much to write home about. I think only one guy threatened me in 4 days.

The reason for the threat: I cut power to the TV at the end of a hockey game and wouldn’t let him put on a movie at 11pm. My reasoning: the noise would be annoying for the 120 or so guys who were trying to sleep. His reasoning: “I’m not 8 years old, I can do what I fuckin’ want! I’ll remember you on the street, asshole.” My response: “Go to bed Keith.” He grumbled a bit more and went to bed. In the morning I handed him a complaint form, with sticky note attached with my name on it. I hate it when they miss-spell my name on the complaint forms.

Just another day at the Hobo Ranch. That would’ve been on day 2, the Saturday/Sunday overnight.

Wait, I wandered off from something… What was I talking about?

Day 4, Monday/Tuesday overnight. Right.

It was around 1am, and I was staring up at the ceiling wondering where my driver was. I had become fixated on the concept of a burger and fries in a way that demanded resolution, and my driver wasn’t answering his cel phone. (In his defense: he was back at the main building cleaning the Van.) Out of the corner of my eye some movement caught my attention on the security monitor. Some dipweed was sketching out in the smoke room, putting on and removing various layers of jackets. I checked my watch and took my feet off the desk. What the heck, I was kinda bored anyway. May as well try and chat with the guy.

The conversation was disjointed, and would require too much translation from meth-head-ese to really try and transcribe exactly, but the gist of it was that the guy had gotten out of remand on the 26th of October (it was now the 13th of November), and had promptly gone on a meth bender. Before arriving at my humble little shelter in the city, he had slept a grand total of 4 hours since getting out.

This may seem unrealistic to some out there. 4 hours sleep in 18 days? Not humanly possible.

Well, I assure you it is possible, and is, in fact, nowhere near any kind of a record. And the meth sores all over his face – which could best be described as looking like “God’s Own Vengeance” variety acne – gave his claim credibility.

My main concern at that point wasn’t his complexion – or his health in general. Looking at him I pretty much knew that he was circling the toilet. He was on a terminal run that could only be halted by long term incarceration. Mostly, I was worried about his state of mind and overall edginess. This guy desperately needed a fix, and if he didn’t get one soon, he was going to become a little hot to handle. He pretty much said as much, and wanted to know how long it would take him to walk downtown. I told him it would take about an hour or so, and I could see his mind rapidly calculating if that was going to be quick enough.

The problem was, I couldn’t just let him walk out. For one, it was about 15degrees below freezing. Also, the location I run is a strictly “bus in bus out” affair, part of a deal our agency had signed with the local community association. They didn’t want homeless foot traffic in their neighborhood , so we have a pickup point downtown and bus everyone in and out. I asked him if he could wait a few minutes and I would get one of our vans to take him downtown. He seemed basically Ok with that, and I was really Ok with that – I’d get rid of him and wouldn’t tick off the neighbor’s.

So, I went and called our other Van (my driver was still incommunicado), who told me he’d be by in about ten minutes. Meth-head wandered off to the washroom. I consciously chose not to check up on him, because I didn’t want to discover him smoking up. Rules being rules, I’d have to do something about that, and I really wasn’t interested. He was already on his way out.

About 15 minute later, the van showed up, and I went looking for my new buddy. I found him in the washroom, with his face a few inches away from the mirror, as he closely inspected himself while picking away pieces of his semi-rotting face.


He was totally oblivious of me as I stood a few feet away marveling at the obsessive, drug induced psychosis of his behavior. He was already bleeding from several spots on his face, as he worked away at another spot. “The van’s here, come on and grab your jacket.” He turned and stared blankly at me for a second, his right thumb and forefinger still digging their nails into a sore, which started to bleed as I watched. After a few seconds he took his hand away from his face and nodded.

He came back to the smoke room to collect a couple of layers of jackets, and it was quite a show watching him twitch and jiggle his way into them. The driver watched the show with me, and turned to me with an “Are you kidding me?” kind of look.

I shrugged. “He seems mostly harmless, just get him downtown so he can go fix and be outta our hair.” The two other staffers I had in the building had materialized to watch the show by this point. Both shrugged and went back to different parts of the building to keep an eye on things. My meth buddy finally got his layers of coats on, and followed the driver out of the building. I went back to the office, just in time to hear the phone ring. It was my driver calling to let me know he was on his way back.

I asked if he could pick up a burger on the way.

3 Responses to “Nothing Shocks Me Anymore….”

    Grel, does your boss know about/can he find this site? If so, what happens when he takes exception to your saying things like “pissing match with my direct supervisor”?

    Dunno about up there, but down here blogging about some things with/regarding your job can get you fired – or worse….

    Know about? Nope. Can they find it? Well, they’d have to do some creative googling.

    Not overly worried about getting sacked over the comment though. Trust me, other people who work there have blogged far worse things.

    Glad to hear it…. I’d hate for you to lose either your job or your “let off steam” place.

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