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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chilling with Dorothy

Dorothy is stuck for a place to stay this weekend. She's shifting from the place where she did her 28-day program to a longer-term facility, but somehow there's no place for her to stay this weekend. She explained this to me in a big rush and I'm not sure I understood it really well. She called me yesterday when I was on the Red Line at 47th to say she needed someone to vouch for her that she could pay some guy $10 to stay in his shop for the night. I got on the phone and told him I was good for it.

She came by this afternoon. It's on the line between rain and snow today, really ugly weather. I gave her a cup of tea and the ten bucks to pay back the guy who gave her a place to stay last night. She just came back now because she thought she had worked something out with a widowed neighbor, but his daughter showed up and she's having a freakage, so Dorothy just got the heck out of there.

She washed up and helped me fold up some laundry that was sitting in the soon-to-be-no-longer spare room. Now we're just chilling until she decides to bust a move or I decide I'm going to bed. It's cold and nasty and there's no point being outside any longer than absolutely necessary. Some friends of mine who are Tattler fans may enjoy knowing I showed her the cleverly designed program from the wedding I attended yesterday. Dorothy spent a while looking at it. "That's real pretty," she said.

Dorothy is telling me about her life. She grew up around 53rd and Bishop, next to oldest of her father's six kids, oldest of her mother's. (Her father had at least one before he met her mother, she says. Sometimes it's hard to understand her, so I hope I got that right.) She went to Libby Elementary. Her dad wanted her and her siblings to learn to play instruments--she started to learn flute, her little brother played drums. But then her dad couldn't stand listening to them practice in the house, so that was the end of that. Dorothy says her uncle played guitar. We're listening to some Paraguayan guitar music now. Of her siblings, it sounds like two sisters made out all right--"they act like white girls now, spending money," she said. One brother was overseas (I don't know if that meant military service or something else)--she doesn't know if he's back or not. Another brother is locked up for 66 years, I don't know for what. I think the third brother may be around and working, I'm not sure. She has a half sister but doesn't know what's up with her.

Earlier today she told me she's known Yup-yup for 24 years. "When I met him, he wasn't like he is now," she said. I guess not.

She's worried about what she'll look like in the morning. She doesn't want to get put back into detox. "I'm trying not to look like I've been running the streets, because they'll think I've been getting high," she said. Them streets stress you out. Your eyes get red because you ain't had no sleep." She was outside all day today, walking around with no place to go. Even with a crash pad, she says she only got about four hours of sleep last night. I think she did get a nap before things got crazy wherever she thought she was staying.

I actually broke down and asked if she wanted to spend the night, but she turned me down. "Honestly, I don't feel comfortable sleeping here, because if I did people would talk about you," she said.

I swore I would never make that offer. Honestly, I know of someone who got killed offering homeless women a place to stay at night, so I don't want to go there. But I know she's going to have a place to stay as of tomorrow morning, and if she spends all night on the street that's a big temptation to use. I'm really glad she turned down my offer herself. I guess chilling with Dorothy for a while this evening is the best compromise we could come up with. She's putting her hat on. Maybe it's time to get going.

1 comment:

Erin said...

I thought the wedding programs were cleverly designed, too. :) I spoke with my husband about the computer magic we were talking about and he had one idea. Email me!

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