Tag Archives: hope

Homelessness, Heartache… and Hygiene

Before you read this post, read this:
Al Jazeera: Hygiene and Heartache

If you can’t be bothered to read that, don’t read this post.

HomelessGroupWithDogsFrancoFoliniOnFlickrHomeless Woman with Dogs, by Franco Folini on Flickr

The Al Jazeera article just made me cry, and I don’t do that much. Homelessness in all its forms is a concern of mine, but reading about what these women go through really got to me. On a day when I’ve been doing yard work and I get stinky, I can run inside and shower up real quick before work or before going out in public as a disgusting mess.

Maybe it’s because I’m one of those people — okay, one of those women — who is not the ideal of womanhood in that I sweat: I do not perspire gently or “glow.” I sweat and I stink, in all ways, all over — truly gross. I’ve warned my husband not to get too close to me at such times. I’ll never forget dragging out an old batch of T-shirts from the back of the drawer several years ago and thinking I should use them for yard work. They were clean, washed. I saw some GAPO on some of them and it prompted me to smell them. There was a lingering odor of old sweat washed many times. I was sitting on the floor with this pile of T-shirts around me, smelling the pits and wrinkling my nose. “Ugh. Eew. Ugh! Yuck. Really?”

Nitram walked into the room and gave me the side-eye. “What… are you doing?”

I handed him one of the T-shirts. “Smell this… in the armpit.”

He did, and made an appropriate face, handing it back to me with an odd look of —- dare I say it — almost pride, or some kind of weird respect on his face. “You — you are a force to be reckoned with.”

“I know! Gross, right?”

“Oh yeah.”

Thank heavens for tolerant husbands.

Thank heavens for our house, our warm shower, and all the daily things we take for granted that go along with that.

Homelessness comes with a myriad of problems generally inconceivable to most of us. This post in particular focuses on hygiene — female hygiene — but trust me, there are other and many more problems that are a daily concern to homeless people — hunger and warmth and health, to name a few. Respect any person would give another person they pass on the street — that’s a big one.

Another is homeless people who have pets. Maybe it’s a knee-jerk reaction, but I’ve heard so many people say things like, “They’re homeless, how they can afford to have a pet?” Or, so much worse, “They’re homeless — they don’t deserve to have a pet.”

Oh, really? If you even have to think about that one, well then: Fuck. You.

HomelessGroupWithDogsFrancoFoliniOnFlickrHomeless Group with Dogs, by Franco Folini on Flickr

As is often the case, women have a special sort of hell reserved for them in this instance: hygiene. (Women have the same hell reserved for them in regular life, too  — so many men haven’t a clue to what it takes to be one’s own definition of clean, much less a man’s definition of how a woman “should” be clean.) Men don’t bleed out of their genitals monthly, that’s one thing. Men don’t have to shave their pits to feel attractive. Nor do some women, but most of us still feel the need to do so. I’ve been shaving my pits since I was a teen, and if I let it go too long, the feeling of that crispy, growing bit of hair under my arms drives me crazy. I think: Ick, how do men live like that? Yuck! But it all comes down to what you’re used to in your life. And so many women are used to being at least somewhat smooth-skinned, and clean in their gennies.

SailorsPerformComminityServiceOfficalUSNavyPageCClicenseFemHygieneSailors Perform Community Service, Official U.S. Navy Page on Flickr

See, because it doesn’t matter if you just want to just keep clean, or what country you’re in, or how smelly you are or aren’t in your regular life, or if you’re male or female. It’s just a basic thing with homeless people that aside from those who have mental/emotional/psychological or other unimaginable problems that prevent them from taking care of the most basic of necessities for themselves, there are the others who are “like us.” Seriously: truly just like us, or your version of what “like us” means, but without a home or house — who quite literally do not have a fucking pot to piss in. Or a tampon or sanitary pad. Or toilet paper. Or access to a shower or other basic sanitary facility in which they don’t have to worry about being raped or disrespected in some way.

Don’t make me do your homework for you. See what kind of homeless assistance is available to you locally: it’s only a click away.

And if you feel a need to make a judgmental comment on homelessness in general in response to this post, you’re reading the wrong blog. So go back to FB and spout off there. Otherwise: Thank you.

I Guess I’ll know by August 8th

Or not.

I just walked out to the kitchen before starting this, passed by the photo of my sister on the wall, and said some bad words. Not said some bad words at the photo (or my sister), just said some bad words ‘cos I knew I was coming back here to try to write and that it wasn’t going to go really well.

Blog not going well since sister died, eh?

I keep telling myself that this [writer’s block thing, don’t call it that — okay]… lull is due to… mmmwhat?

To be fair, it’s not just since my sister died. Oh, wait — I was going to say it’s also because I seem to have lost interest in some things (a lot of things) I had mined for blog posts before. Problem is, that seems to be most things at the moment. Other problem is, “at the moment” has lasted almost a year now.

Of course, it helps to remind myself that I have like 2.5 followers, so that’s okay.

Or not.

What’s kind of freaking me out is that it seems pretty easy to blame my lack of blogginess on my sister dying. And on the other hand, it seems like not blaming it on that is denial.

So, like I said… I guess I’ll know by August 8th.

Or not.

Fixin’ to Die, by Izzy

Mommy made me some pastina with butter tonight, so I can’t die yet cos I know I’m getting more of it tomorrow. With cheese in, this time.

But yeah, I’m gettin’ there. End of days, the last hurrah, so long and thanks for all the fish, etc. Okay, okay, I know I’ve been fixin’ to die for like six months now, but I’m serious — this is just about it. I am exhausted. I’ve had the blues all week. Cue tiny violins.

Oh wait. You can’t play the blues on a violin. Now, sit down, and have a listen to this…

There are various formal and informal rules of blues, however, one significant rule that should be mentioned is: if you own a computer, you can’t sang the blues.

And people in Canada don’t really get the blues. What I mean by that is… the kind of blues I’m talking about is the real thing. Take Leadbelly. He killed a man and went to jail. He wrote most of his blues in jail, and he was from the southern US, where it’s always warm. If you are gonna get the blues, you need to be in a place that is usually hot and has its fair share of rain. Humidity helps the blues. Although, so does bitter cold. Not regular cold — bitter cold.

There are certain places where blues thrives. Places like Chicago (pronounced “shy – kago”). You can find the coolest blues clubs in Chicago on Division Street. Guys wear suits they slept in, little sweat rags in their back pockets… they wear shades and have their eyes closed anyways. Chicago is a mean blues town.

The blues do not realistically occur up in Alaska, not matter how cold it gets. And despite its annual rainfall, you cannot get the blues in Vancouver, simply because it is in Canada. Nice, sunny, warm tropical locations are not good blues locales. If it don’t rain there, you can’t get the blues. You can have the blues in New York City, but not in Brooklyn or Queens. Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota are just a depression, not the blues. Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis, Birmingham, and anywhere in the Mississippi Delta are still the best places to have the blues.

Good places for the blues:
the highway
empty bed
bottom of a whiskey glass
your front porch
Bad places for the blues:
outlet malls
gallery openings
golf courses

If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, then it’s a blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is a blues way to die. So is the electric chair or death from substance abuse. It is not a blues death if you die during a liposuction treatment.

If you ask for water and Baby give you turpentine, it’s the blues. Other blues beverages are cheap wine, whiskey, and muddy water. The following are NOT blues beverages: mixed drinks, kosher wine for passover, Yoo Hoo, bottled spring water, Snapple, and french roast coffee. Beer and likker are reserved for country music, but R.C. Cola is appropriate in both country and blues songs.

Most blues songs begin with “woke up this morning.”
“I got a good woman” is a bad way to begin the blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line:
I got a good woman
with the meanest face in town

Blues lyrics are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it (sang it twice), and then find something that rhymes. Sort of.
Got a good woman
With the meanest face in town
Yeah, I got a good woman
With the meanest face in town
She got teeth like a dinosaur
She weigh two hundred pound

Blues cars are Chevys and Cadillacs. Other acceptable blues transportation includes Greyhound busses and southbound trains. Pickup trucks are reserved for country music. Walkin’ (in shoes with holes in them) plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. It has to be walkin’ with the appropriate blues attitude. You have to be fixin’ to die.

Teenagers can’t sang the blues. Only adults can sang the blues. Especially adults who feel like they want to die or are fixin’ to die. You are an adult if you are old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis. Teenagers can’t sang the blues because they simply aren’t old enough. They ain’t fixin’ to die yet. Besides, teenagers have lots of choice in their lives. Blues is not about choice. With blues, you have no options. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch. Ain’t no way out.

The following colors do NOT belong in a blues song: violet, fuchsia, beige, and mauve.

No one will believe it’s the blues if you wear a suit, unless you’re Dan Aykroyd or an old black man, and you slept in it. You should also be wearing shades, and your eyes should be closed.

Musically, the key of E is the proper key to sang the blues out of. The key of A is acceptable, but not if you use a capo on your guitar and chord it in G; the key of G is reserved for country music. Talkin’ blues can be done in C. Never, ever in a blues song use a chord with a name that ends in “sustained” or “augmented” or “diminished to the 7th” unless you are a communist sangin’ a song about the bourgeoisie.

Don’t play the blues on an instrument that doesn’t have its own personal name. Heather, Caitlyn, and Allysia are NOT good names for blues guitars. Lucille, Betty, and Doris are. Elvira is reserved for country guitars.

Guitars from Sears & Roebuck or Montgomery Ward play the best blues music. Unless you get one from a pawn shop. Or shoot a man in Memphis and steal his woman and his guitar. A guitar from a chain store, mall outlet, or one custom-made by an expensive craftsperson should NEVER be used to play the blues. Brand names such as Ibanez, Epiphone, Tacoma, and Yamaha are of doubtful blues authenticity; Fender, Gibson, and Martin are probably okay. If your guitar is so cheap that it doesn’t have a brand name anywhere on it, then it’s a blues guitar. Unless it has a label that says “made in Korea” stuck on it somewhere. If you are a communist sangin’ about the bourgeoisie, then you probably don’t even have a guitar to play on. Bumper stickers placed on a guitar are reserved for country music.

People will listen to your blues if:
your first name is a Southern state (like Georgia);
you’re blind;
you shot a man in Memphis;
you can’t be satisfied.

They won’t listen to your blues if:
you once were blind but now can see;
you’re deaf;
you have a trust fund or stock portfolio.

Once you’ve got all that down, you need a blues name.

Some good blues names:
for women: Sadie, Big Mama, Bessie, Fat River Dumpling.
for men: Joe, Willie, Lightning.
Persons with names like Sierra or Sequoia are not permitted to sang the blues, no matter how many men they shot in Memphis. Those with names of physical infirmities (blind, cripple) and persons whose first names are the last names of presidents (Jefferson, Johnson) are okay to sang the blues.

Blues name have three parts.
For the first name, always start with something descriptive, preferably some form of physical malady or shortcoming; if it has to be something happy, make sure the next part is nasty.
When possible, combine the first name with a piece of fruit or sweet desert dish, a state name, or something nasty as mentioned above.
Try to have the last name related to a former president of the United States.
Ensure that the overall name implies despair, a sense of sorrow, and above all, hopelessness.

Some examples of good blues names:
Blind Lemon Jefferson
Sweet Fatass Jackson
Jakeleg Lemon Johnson
Broke Mellon Polk
Toothless Georgia Parker
Ugly Pie Rivers
Note: citrus fruits tend to work better for blues names.

Now that you know the rules and have got your blues name… sang it, baby.

So — anyway… oh, yeah, fixin’ to die, havin’ the blues, that’s what got me goin’ on all that. I didn’t write that, by the way. Neither did Mom. It’s all over the internet. We just tweaked it a bit.

Well, after I ate that pastina, I just about fell asleep in my towel on Mommy’s lap. I got a bit restless after that, though, cos I ate a bunch of other stuff, too — Mom kept coming into my room and cuddling me and stuffing my face — so I had to work off some of that food, and I figured I’d drop you all a line.

Writing all this really kinda knocked me out, though, so I’m off for yet another nap. Not a dirt nap — not quite yet. But sleep, yes, sleep… mmmm.


Love, Izzy