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Wednesday, February 25, 1998
By Paul Ford
My schedule, 25-FEB-98 -- 27-FEB-98:
Wednesday, from 10 AM to 6:30 PM: Work.
Wednesday Night, from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM: F Train Home.
Wednesday Night, from 7:30 PM to 10 PM: Personal hygeine, answering email, writing, dinner.
Wednesday Night, from 10 PM to 11 PM: F Train back to work.
Wednesday Night, from Midnight to 8 AM: Work.
Thursday, 8 AM to 6 PM: Work.
Thursday, 6 AM to 7 PM: Dinner at La Carridad with Eli. Plantains!
Thursday Night, 7 PM to 6 AM: Walk to Ethical Culture Society. Get key from Madonna's doorman, across the street. He is reluctant to hand it to me. Open and prop door ECS door. Hand it back to the doorman. He yells at me a little. "Ry do ro nreed za key?"
Downstairs the social worker, who is waiting for the homeless women, greets me. I do not say, "why didn't you get off your big swampy ass and come open the door when I rang the bell for almost a full minute, so the miserable old doorman for Madonna's apartment building wouldn't give me shit in whatever unintelligibly crabby language he speaks?" I don't say anything. I get my green plastic bed, on its iron frame, and roll into the other room. I hate the social worker. I get DHS blanket, pillowcases, and blankets.
Then I sleep, in an empty room, waking a little at the entry and mopping noises made by the teenage janitor who won't say "hello" back to me when I try to be polite, so who cares if I'm asleep?
A woman cracks my door at 5:30 AM and yells out, in an angry voice, "please come sign the papers." I don't know why they're angry. Maybe because they're homeless. None of it involves me.
I yank on my jeans. I'm puffy with sleep as I trundle into their TV room, where I sign a triplicate bus manifest and write in my title as "volunteer." It's cold, and my feet had stuck out from the blankets, and now hurt a little. I shouldn't sleep barefoot.
Friday Morning, 6:30 AM: Head home on the train. I'm not going to work today. Shower furiously. Sleep, dawdle, answer phone calls.
At 2:30, I need to meet friends of a friend in the city, a mother and daughter, to show them the sights. I've never met either before, and they've never been to New York. I'm writing their name on a placard and holding it up, at Penn Station, for them to find. I'm not exactly native to the City. I hope these women are attractive. I hope they're not disappointed in me.