Robert and Russell AKARoxanneAKARockyAfter many attempts to capture "Rocky" on camera, today was day it all fell into place and could do a post about another of the unusual characters known to MOI.
"Rocky" thinks of self as transgender, a woman trapped in a man's body. While the dress on this day was toned down, usually "Rocky" shows up at the bus stop bench dressed in a colourful MUMU or an strapless black evening gown. Can you imagine the figure cut by "Rocky"? The whole package plus pushing a trolley loaded with extra gowns and sleeping gear.
"Rocky" is born and raised in Hawaii. At 34, Rocky has never known a time when he was not homosexual and he says that his manner of dress caused much trouble with his family.
Truth be told, when the old geezer first met "Rocky" he did not meet the new person with undiluted pleasure. I do not do 'drag queen' well. It offends me. Right, so that is mean to say but it is the truth.
Over time, sitting with James on the bench, more and more of "Rocky's" story came out and little by little, my attitude softened toward.
Along with being 'transgender', "Rocky" suffers from a mental illness AND does drugs AND is a compulsive over-eater. With no address, Rocky finds a clear spot in the car park at St. Augustine's and tries to sleep there.
"Rocky" is trying to mend his ways. Of late, "Rocky" has entered a drug programme and he told me today that it has been 5 weeks since he smoked "ICE". "Rocky" says that he is trying to get his eating under control but I rather doubt that. "Rocky" loves his groceries and continues to eat more that needed.
Life is mean for "Rocky" but you would never know it to listen to "Rocky". will long remember the ringing sound of the laughter that flows out of him. Even when he is having a hard day, he finds something to get a huge belly laugh about.
The shocker is that I find myself liking and caring about "Rocky". Right, he is not full quid and he lives in a fantasy world. Truth be told, have never seen "Rocky" be mean to anyone and many is the time seen him share what little he has with other homeless people. I know that "Rocky's" dream of being the first transgender president of the United States is never going to happen but if it pleases "Rocky" to dream such Hugh dreams, what is the harm.
In a perfect world there would be a special place for folks like "Rocky". Sadly, it is not a perfect world and no one seems to care that life is mean for folks who do not fit in.
PublicFriendsOnly MeCustomClose FriendsHonolulu, Hawaii AreaSee all lists...UC BerkeleySt. Michael'sLondon, United Kingdom AreaFamilyAcquaintancesGo Back
Just after the 4th of July, a few days past, there was a visit to the road and community that make up Zone 2555 by the 'Angel of Death', a personage that had been held at bay for almost 2 years.
MOI has been informed that a young gang member was shot to death on the road, 18 he was, and rumour has it that his death was due to gang related drug activity. The gang member was found face down in the dirt of the road. It is said that this horrid death came about due to activity at a much trouble property on road, a property well known to coppers, city officials, neighbourhood 'faith based' leaders and the folks round it.
The last gang - drug death was in 2007, on Father's Day, when a young thug was shot dead in his vehicle on the road.
Congrats are in order...........Mayor Swearengin can sew on a cross to frock, to remind herself of her lack of leadership and inability to hear the cries of help from a much troubled community in Downtown Area. Downtown Tsar Sharton can paint a cross on his shield, to remind self of his complete lack of reality in dealing with what truly ails Downtown, he carries blame for gangs and drugs keeping folks from going into the Downtown main. Rev. Phil Skei has a stain on his soul, for shouting 'Praise Jesus', all the while dodging bullets and ignoring gangs and drugs on road he lives.
The whole group is lead by Council President Cynthia Sterling, who has many deaths against her and during her watch as council member. Ms. Sterling has allowed Civic Pride to die in Zone 2555, never forcing City of Fresno to act to save a community desperate.
Hate lives in Zone 2555 and on road once lived on. Hate directed against anyone brave enough to be different, to fight for change, and to encourage folks to be the best possible. Hate directed against gangs, drugs, whores, benefits cheats and slumlords was too hard for Swearengin, Sharton, Skei or Sterling to grasp and cause the community to rise up with hope, that elected officials really cared.
Given the trend on Calaveras and in Zone 2555, Father Christmas need not worry about visiting this Christmas..............along with Civic Pride missing, is the Moral Responsibility............
Right odd.......Mayor Swearengin, Tsar Scharton, Ms. Sterling and the good Rev. Skei all say they want, and can make happen, a safer community in Downtown area.........how can that be?.....if they can not prevent death on one road in one much troubled and put upon community in Fresno.......
Four years have past since this was posted. The sad reality is that this much troubled road is still visited by much pain and suffering. The dear reader who sent this reminder did so as she wanted to remind of what had been done good while on that road. I am very proud of that...
Early Monday morn, Jay, an out-reach worker for vets from IHS, came by the bus stop bench that James sleeps on. His mission was to pick up James and take him to IHS and place him directly in contact with folks who are capable of finding solutions to problems faced by homeless vets. The old geezer tagged along...
From the start, Jay tried to establish a rapore with James and that meant using a less formal form of address.
James got to meet several people who are in the business of trying to get vets off the street and into a more secure setting. There was plenty of information giving out and there were options placed in front of James.
James listened to all and even gave out very personal insights as to why he might be in the situation he is in.
I listened very hard to what James had to say and came away from the trip to IHS with a better understanding of James and a better understanding of myself and my motives for wanting to better James' situation. Truth be told, the whole experience made me face some basic truths about James and myself.
Like James, the old geezer carries 'baggage', some of which is very old and not likely to be thrown off. The 'baggage' has to come define who I am.
James has a special relationship with another person, one that helps define him and gives him purpose to life. Regardless of how strange the relationship might be, or how mean that relationship causes his life to be, that relationship is non-negotiable. James is not prepared to break off ties. The person is very important to James.
James' relationship with his friend made me think about the special relationship had with John so many years ago. John, like James, was told over and over again that my being in the picture was not acceptable to his friends or family. I was damaged goods. My past was not one that suited a person like John. John should cut me loose and be the better for it. Like James, John felt that our relationship was non-negotiable. I was a part of his life and that was just the way it was going to be.
There was nothing horrid about me, just the general 'unsuitability' of me. I was not wealthy and was too loud in my purpose. The causes promoted were not fashionable and truth is not always received well.
I had to confess to James that I was guilty of not listening to him in the past. I refused to accept that James had the right to live his life in the manner he wanted and not as I viewed his living his life. James is no fool, is well aware that his situation is mean and that it will remain so unless some things change. James never asked me to push as hard as I did to get him off the street. James never tried to work the system.
James knows himself rather well. More to the point, James sees himself in the bright light of day and does not feel that he has to apologize for anything, least of of who he is. James has taught me how to deal with life better. Truth be told, every day James gives me the courage to face life fully and to not complain.
IHS and the folks who toil there are well meaning. They have a plan, 'their plan', a plan that may not work for all but it is the only plan they have in play. Jay and IHS have all of the answers for folks who fit the profile they are most 'au fait' with. It works well, for some. I understand well that James may well feel that what was offered, and there was much offered, is not 'right' for him.
Some years back, when this old geezer felt himself at the end of the road, totally without hope and little desire to carry on, he too made the trip to IHS and tried to get a helping hand through dark days. It will remain forever remembered as one of the worst periods in life. That the period only lasted for a few weeks, is due only to my coming to senses and realizing that it was 'I' who gave up on 'me', not the friends had. Once the shame of being down and out was dealt with and talked openly about, there was a place for me to go to and my life would go on. I thank God that IHS is not an option for me, nor would it ever be.
James is going through a hard patch due to health problems. There is hope that his health will not get worse and that he will be able to do what he has always done, LIVE, on his terms and under his own steam.
Jay, the out-reach vet worker at IHS, kept reminding the old geezer that regardless of the rank reached or past brilliance of the life James had, he was no more special than any other vet that came in the door looking for help. That may well be.
To me, James is bloody brilliant. He punched his ticket in all the right spots during his journey through life. I am in awe of all that he has given and achieved during his 40 odd years of service to America, be it in the military or as a park ranger. James is very important. I value my friendship with him and am in debt to him for helping me face life and the challenges faced with more courage than before. James makes me a better person.
It is no chore to spend time with James. I look forward to each morning. I will still worry about his health. I will still be bothered by his housing situation.
The answer to James and his situation was in front of my face all along. I understand now that loving James as a friend has to come without judgement of his friend or the manner in which he lives his life.
Whatever the reason that retired MSG James Finney is homeless does not negate the fact that we as a society should owe him a debt that can not be paid.
Retired MSG James Finney gave 20 years honorable service to this country.
There is no doubt that there are issues at play that gave cause to retired MSG Finney finding himself living on the street and sleeping on a bus stop bench.
Retired MSG James Finney is neither an alcoholic or drug addict. Retired MSG James Finney has lived in Waikiki most of his time in Hawaii, and that period goes back some 25 years. Why is it that housing, with a little help and understanding, can not be found for retired MSG Finney in the community he feels a part of? Why is the only option to bunk down in a programme loaded with ex-servicemen who are unable to deal with life without drugs or alcohol. OR, to sleep in a homeless shelter totally unsuited to his needs.
Having come to know retired MSG James Finney, I know that he is not looking for a free ride, just a little help in getting into an affordable housing situation that he can cope with due to his medical proplems.
A LITTLE HELP AND UNDERSTANDING. Not $30,000.00.
I have no doubt that IHS and USVETS do some good in helping the homeless. The homeless that who get all of the attention.
Retired MSG James Finney gave much to this country. We, each and everyone of us, owe him help and support, in his hour of need.
Call me stupid but if we can not help a valued retired MSG, who can we help.
Retired MSG James Finney reminds me that he is not 'homeless', just housless. This is due to his belief that 'home' is where the 'heart' is. Retired MSG James Finney has a great heart, witnessed by his 20 years of honorable service to this country.
Laura's Massive ALOHADid one ever doubt that the old geezer knew folks who were 'larger than life'???
The snap featured is of my lovely friend Laura, sister to another person known to. To say that there is a story to tell would be putting it mildly.
I first met Laura some years back when she was in hospital fighting a nasty infection. Laura is a massive woman and required a very large hospital bed. Although she had been in hospital for some time, Laura was quick with a laugh and seemed delighted to have met another new person. I remember we chatted for some time and then I left, not to come upon her for a number of years.
Waikiki is a small place and it was only a matter of time before I would run into Laura again. Laura is a wee bit crazy when driving herself round in her mobility chair and it was at one of her brother's famous 'yard sales' that we re-connected. Laura has lived in a small flat just blocks off the beach for years.
What started out as a kindly gester to visit one trapped in a mobility chair and living alone, turned into on-going visits that were a source of cheer to both Laura and me self. Truth be told, Laura can be quite entertaining. Laura is well read, surfs the Internet on her mobile daily and loves to watch reality shows on the telly. Add a rather colourful life lived and you have endless hours of chin wagging to do.
The snap of Laura on the beach is a bit dated. Laura is so much larger today. At 4'10", Laura weighs in at near 400 pounds today.
The old geezer has had his problems with weight. Bloody hell, at the largest, it was over 400 pounds for my frame as well. Fat, for the old geezer, came late in life, but it was still a huge burden to carry. When the lamp came on to take off the fat, it was over time and due in large part to a complete change in the way groceries are viewed.
Truth be told, Laura's weight repulsed and frightened me. So unsure of being able to keep the same thing from happening to me again. I said some rather unkind things to Laura about her weight.
The odd thing about friendship is that it either overcomes the negative and grows into something beautiful of withers up and dies as a weed. My ever growing friendship with Laura has allowed me to accept Laura just as Laura is. Most of my willingness to see Laura is a positive light is due in no small measure to the sort of person Laura is.
Plagued by multiple health problems, Laura has still continued to find beauty in her world and to add love to it.
Laura took in a rabbit that no one wanted. The old geezer thinks the rabbit looks evil, with one dead pink eye looking at one. Laura loves the rabbit and cares not a fig that the rabbit is odd looking. Laura took in a guenia pig that no one wanted. Then there is FEBE, her rather large and very weird dog. FEBE has a tail that wags so hard that when one is hit with it, it feels like whiplash.
Then there are the cats. 6 living in the flat and one male cat that wanders the neighbourhood feeding from one and all. Did I not mention in the past that I loathe cats?
Laura plans her day round the needs of her pets. Feeding, watering and cleaning up after is a very complicated process that takes hours of her day. It is Laura's labour of love that she performs without complaint each and every day. Laura loves her animals and in turn the love Laura unconditionally.
I adore Laura. Like the old geezer, Laura is not without baggage, can be rather hard to take at times. At the end of the day, Laura has a heart full of joy. She still wants desperately to believe that folks have value, even the ones that have shat on her in the past.
Laura lives on a small social security check. A good part of that small check goes to feed and care for her 'family'.
Laura is very clever. She knows that the weight is not healthy. Like I said, Laura loves her groceries. So comfy am I with my ability to deal with food, is no longer bothers me that Laura eats more than required. Some think of the old geezer as an enabler. I do go to market and get food for Laura. If I did not, someone else would.
Whatever faults Laura has, does not negate the fact that Laura is a very loving person and tons of fun to be with. Truth be told, Laura keeps the old geezer so amused and depression is not a constant companion of late.
Laura's brother is having another one of his 'yard sales' today. Rather think the old geezer will have to go and see of there are any items of clothing for Laura. You never know what you will find. Gobsmacked I have been in the past to come on items Laura was able to transform into a serviceable MU MU.
There you have it. Another look into the world of Robert and the different sorts of people one meets in the walk through life...
After weeks in hospital with a painfully swollen leg, my friend James is once again back out on the street, in a wheelchair and a whole lot worse for wear.
Loaded up with pain killers, medicine to fight infection and his blood pressure medication, James is finding it more and more difficult to get around and to find a comfortable spot on the bus stop bench to try and rest. Truth be told, James is looking more fragile than ever.
The old geezer spent hours on Saturday trying to convince James that he needs to get into some sort of programme and end his life on the street. He is now more at risk than ever before. My fear is that James will die on that bench and no one will discover him until he has grown cold.
Whatever the mental condition of James, he is not an alcoholic or a drug abuser. James' biggest problem is that he believes that he needs to care for another homeless person and if he leves the street, this homeless person will do himself in. Fact of the matter is, this younger homeless person has tried to kill himself before, latest time was before Christmas last, almost did it, but lived and spent 40 days in hospital coming back from the grave.
James needs help now. James is 70 years old and quickly sliding deeper and deeper into a high risk situation that could cause him to die. The swollen leg is not improving.
This day, the old geezer stripped off the old bandage and applied lotion to the leg. Peeled off lots of dead skin and re-applied a bandage to the leg. Got James to take all of his medicine and made sure he had water and something to eat.
James promised that he would get to a store and purchase some socks for his feet, get some sort of footwear and other items he needs to cover some of his medical problems. Like adult diapers. James can not always get to a toilet and the diapers help him cope.
James is in need of some sort of respite, he can not continue to do without sleep and proper care. James knows that my good friend Marc Alexander, with IHS, is aware of his condition and willing to work with him to get him some sort of help. James is also aware that I have made Care-A-Van aware of his condition. James is leary of authority, afraid to be placed in a situation where is is unable to get about. However strong his dislike of authority, James is also aware that he can not continue as he is. That the situation of his caring for another homeless person is not healthy for him.
If I have learned anything in doing good deeds, it is that you can not help everyone. Some homeless are not reachable. You have to try with the ones you feel can still be reached. I believe James is still reachable, it will not be easy, but it can still be possible for James to become more safe than he is at present.
I am going to forward this post to Marc Alexander at IHS. I am going to forward this post to Care-A-Van. I will also forward this post to any number of other folks who do outreach to the homeless. I will be padantic with members of the local newspaper and the mayor and a state senator. This post will find its way to two sites that deal with the homeless condition.
I can not save the world. I can stop and take the time to help one person, hoping that one person will find relief from suffering. James is my friend. James is also my responsibility as a member of society, the same society I am a part of. His life matters.
No matter how clever the signs may be, giving cash to homeless beggars is just plain stupid. Truth be told, the same applies to non-profits giving endless amounts of outreach to drug addicts, alcoholics and lazy people who take whatever is offered without any desire to better their situation.
There are any number of places that feed the homeless. Noble idea, but how many of these homeless are truly 'hungry? Does 'hunger' apply to individuals who get 318.00 in food stamps? EBT receivers who sell their food stamps to buy alcohol, drugs or tobacco products? How many starving people does one really see in the food lines?
Many of the homeless receive government benefits. Cash. Every month. Is one really homeless if one makes the choice to not pay rent and use the cash received for drugs, alcohol or tobacco?
There are any number of non-profits in Hawaii who receive public monies to service the homeless. The same pool of homeless are provided an endless stream of outreach effort by one non-profit organization after another. Yet the number of homeless in Waikiki, Chinatown and Hawaii continues to grow.
The 'bright young things' in non-profits now want the public to believe that you can give housing to homeless folks without requiring any effort on the part of the receiver of such housing to change the behaviours that might place them in homelessness in the first place.
Call me cruel but I find it very hard to feel any sympathy for drug addicts or alcoholics who do not want to stop drinking or abusing drugs. Better to do outreach to folks who really want to change their condition.
If it be true that most of the homeless are folks with mental problems, would we not be better served in providing better programmes to deal with mental illness?
Homelessness is not unique to Hawaii. The homeless are to be found everywhere. Truth be told there will always be homelessness. Having a clever slogan that promises to end homelessness in ten years is not going to change that and is an out and out lie.
Mind, there are lots of 'bright young things' toiling away at a non-profit that need to fill out a resume or just make a living, and the public monies to be had seem to never end. Guilt is a good way to keep the monies flowing.
I want to reassure you that we do provide outreach every other week in Waikiki to our clients and all homeless we see while doing outreach. We also do night outreach once every two weeks in Waikiki. During outreach, we provide social services and referrals to different service agencies. We also inform them of the shelters that are available and pass out hygiene and snacks. We let new clients know about our services in our drop-in center and at our other locations. Many of the homeless in Waikiki are familiar clients to us. Our services are for all homeless, regardless of mental state or addiction as we aim to service all homeless that we encounter.
All of our services are free and voluntary. We can provide and inform individuals of our services, however, if they take our services is up to them.
Please, let me know if you have any other questions.
Homeless Adult Coordinator
The Waikiki Health Center is responsible for operating an outreach programme to the homeless. That programme is Care-A-Van. I rather think that the reply received was from that part of their operation.
Waikiki Health Center is a wonderful resource for poor people to us to gain access to medical attention and on-going care with their health problems, physical or mental. I have no argument with that.
I wonder about the outreach programme to the homeless. Does it really solve problems or does it pander to the homeless?
The reply received is so very "PC". Does it really answer any questions?
It still bothers me that an outreach worker from Care-A-Van, visited a 'client' on the street and rang up an ambulance for the individual. The 'client' may well have been feeling poorly, but he had a wheelchair, probably a bus pass, and could have got to hospital on his own. I know of another homeless man who had a severely swollen leg, infected, and barely able to walk, and he was able to get self to hospital. It did not cost hundreds of dollars to do that.
Makes one think that the 'bright young things' that do outreach, are pandering to the homeless and not mindful of the cost of rides in ambulances for individuals who might not require. Mind, it is only 'public monies' and there is an endless stream of that...
The homeless in Waikiki are a clever lot. Do you not think they already know where there can go? They know and pick and choose what they want. Mail service, EBT, free clothes. The good stuff to be had with no strings attached.
Today I say one of your outreach workers administering to one of the homeless in Waikiki.
The homeless man in question is well known to you, as you have reached out to him in the past. Provided housing and even went so far as to deliver his medicines to his homeless address, a bus stop bench on the beach.
The homeless man in question is a raging alcoholic and seems to thrive on getting cash from the tourists who feel sorry for him. Might explain why he keep returning to his old living situation.
This was the first time I actually say one of your our reach workers in action. It made me wonder.
Why is this homeless man getting so much attention? Is he more worthy of help than any other homeless person in Waikiki?
When will someone from your organization do out rwach to some of the other needy homeless? Like a 70 year old man sleeping on a bench, or a older local man with swollen legs and bleeding sores?
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