Side Notes

The manner in which the hours of freedom.. 

are spent determines, no less than labor or war, the moral worth of a nation.” 

— Maurice Maeterlinck 

Little Miss Muffet

Sat on her tuffet

Smoking a bowl in the dark

Along came a ranger, 

Took her weed and detained her 

“It’s illegal to smoke in state parks”

A watched phone never charges…

But at least no one will steal it.

Lisa D

Shelter Life

To whom this may concern:

I am completely grateful to have a bed here at the shelter. I am a homeless grad student working on my major project and I appreciate having a “place” indoors to sleep and study. That being said, I completely immerse myself in my research, losing track of time, and when the lights are flipped off at 9 p.m., I end up having to stack my papers, books, and binders everything up and put it at the foot of the bed until the morning, it being too dark in the dorm to read or write after lights out. 9 p.m.  to 12 a.m. is my personal prime-time for studying and working, and I am unable to utilize this time effectively, having to shut it down as soon as I start! 

My bed also serves as my desk, closet, couch, attic, end table, staging area, yoga studio, vanity, den, library, and dining room. I have a top bunk, which is prized real estate (for the 10 and under crowd) and the view is breathtaking! 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with bunk beds, they are single-person beds, stacked one atop of another. These particular bunk beds consist of two metal drawers, two slabs of sheet metal, four metal beams and two metal rungs to use as a ladder. It looks like an industrial shelving unit: no soft corner on this bad boy. The bottom rung is four feet off the ground, so hoisting myself up is difficult. I assume it would be like mounting a horse. Once I pull myself up it’s just a matter of stepping up the remaining rungs and pulling myself up to the sheet metal summit.

Once I reach the outcropping where I sleep, I have the sense of accomplishment one gets when successfully completing any feat! Sitting on the precipice, it dawns on me I left my phone down at base camp charging! It’s not a good idea to leave it unattended, particularly at night, so I groan and prepare to make the descent. I use the ladder and stand on the bottom rung. Now I have two choices: either I jump or I step on that stack of loose papers, books, binders and school work. I prefer the stack over a blind dismount into darkness, so I squat down as far as I can stretch my leg out, and feel around for the pile with my toes. I locate it, but due to my Mickey Mouse stacking job I accidentally knock over the temporary step. Now I have to take the leap of faith. 

I psyche myself up as my ears pop due to the change of altitude. I lower down until (I hope) I only have a little distance to freefall. I count to three and slide off the bottom rung, stick the landing. Success! Terra firma! I am super glad I’m not afraid of heights. I grab my phone and am once again at the foot of the bed. I am tempted to just tell my bunkie to move over and make room for me in her bed, but I decide not to. I stabilize the makeshift book stack which makes a big difference in the difficulty of scaling the mountain face. I reach the top again and what a magnificent view! I gaze out over the sea of sanctuary slumber. Everything and everyone looks so peaceful!

Shit. I have to use the bathroom…