THE NEW MISSIONARY POSITION -
BSC, CA – When I was growing up back in the 50s, three things weren't talked about openly in the black community; a creepy in-law you didn't want to sit on the lap of, homosexuality (illustrated through comic relief in Wedding Crashers), and an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. In those days you were turned out [homeless] only if you were a girl and preggos, otherwise, you were family even if you had to live in the basement. Of course if you poor, there was always a landlord between you and being homeless.
Those Southern values ring true in Iowa, a state also with basements and cellars where a majority of Memoirs takes place. Also some hocus pocus. But I now live in Southern California, a place with no basements or cellars unless there's wine or beer connected. The country has changed a lot in attitudes towards homosexuality [some areas more than others] while single motherhood seems a normal thing given the constant war side effects, prison system privatization, shrinking construction job market,and the drugging of the country through prescription meds, powder drugs, or both. The landscape of America has changed, and not for the better.
Recently where I live, in Temecula, CA, two homeless people in town were 'rescued' by the authorities. One made the front page of the PE Thursday weekend free ad-zine that features 4-5 stories and ads for the weekend. The other made the police blotter. One is at least 60 years old and the other is 27. After being rescued, one was given food, shelter, a place to shower, sleep, and rest up until his family arrived to take him home, out of state. The other got 3 hots and a cot. His trial comes up at Southwest this Wednesday. One is a Christian, can you guess which one? Details after the jump.
I can't speak much for the big city homeless, but I have known and known about the valley homeless [youth] since my early days in Murrieta, when you could go behind the bowling alley, sit down on the concrete curb and join other heads having a toke, though you all usually went out in a group. In those days being homeless meant the 'parking lot' wherever the Dead were set up, 'joining the circus'. Others would wind up in the California Fire Service or go off to live with a friend somewhere, usually another county, AZ or Nevada.
Listening to these kids as to why they were homeless or being kicked out to be on their own, it struck me that maybe it was the weather. Christians are Christians and who hasn't been in a little pickle needing a bail-out? Later in Murrieta around Christmas time one year when I was between roofs myself I rode my bike over to the Methodist church to some aid. The pastor there told me to get help at the Catholic Services, “They do things like that for people, read, non-members.” I peddled off a bit pissed but obviously something wound up happening or I wouldn't have found the digs that I finally did.
Although I did and do come into contact with the homeless in my travels, including beggars even at the bus stops, the lead-in story about the young homeless Christian was told once before in this recent piece, but the person in the story, the person who you never see the face of, is someone I know of personally. I should, he is one of the two people on the cover of my book. The homeless Christian is the person in the black tee shirt. His name is Tyler Goulet. His father is a retired SD fire captain, his mother has never worked a day in her life outside the home, and the fam has done Christian-based missions trying to save little black babies in Africa and little white ones in Ireland. Tyler's last two closest amigos were a neighborhood [ex]heroin addict adopted as a child with anger issues [male] and a girlfriend who makes Ethiopian refugees look well-fed due to her meth addiction. The three are in the same age group. But it wasn't always this way and that's what makes this story a little less ordinary.
The friends who still have concern for him are either frustrated or angry because they also know the type of person Tyler is, or was. For me, Tyler is the story of the guy Da Vinci painted as first the model for Jesus, and then some 20 years later finding the same man broken and beaten, for the model of Judas. Though that story has been 'debunked' I remember hearing it a long time ago before the Mandela Effect.
Tyler was home-schooled because he could be and has a very intriguing educational base. He plays the guitar, loves dogs, is a work worker and has won fishing competitions. I remember watching him score the only two soccer goals to win his division for State. So what happened?
Two things actually, in my opinion. The first crack in the dike is his religion, or rather the orthodoxy he attends. He took me to a service once around Christmas time as we celebrated the Noggy Season. The impression I got was the lukewarm type church mentioned in Revelation's beginning. When we discussed this opinion later in the evening my final comment was, “Too bad, because charity begins at home. Also charity is one of the 5 kinds of love mentioned positively in the Bible,” a point Tyler was also versed in.
In fact, Tyler and I used to have such intense theological garden discussions that once a hummingbird stopped midair for about a minute [at least sixty seconds], hovering just in our 45 degree shared opposite peripheral vision, and listened. Neither of us acknowledged our eavesdropper but we both noted this unique happening, talking about it the moment our garden party three-way was over. So I knew that Tyler was special. Special people aren't always identified by the short bus.
There were two other reasons Tyler stood out as 'special' both visual. One was the book cover picture, taken two years prior to the book manuscript being finished. It would be a year and a half before this special clue slid into place via the light bulb above my head routine. The second was the moment Tyler walked into my door with this tall, blonde, Dr's daughter, a stunning socialite. The young woman was as smart and witty as she was classically hot. The three of us bonded immediately, two of us over a fatty and all of us over a cold one, for she didn't smoke but she could handle her liquor. This was the only thorn to his rose. Alcohol is not Tyler's friend.
Tyler's romance continued into a second Noggy Season and a plan for the future was set into motion. Tyler, always a fearless outdoor type, would become an EMT, taking the test at the next available opportunity. He had studied the manual and done some ride-alongs. And here is where we go backstage. Research information is that on one such ride-along, Tyler performed CPR on an old woman for an extended length of time but she died anyway. Though Tyler is no shrinking violet, I'm told he didn't quite walk back from this one. This happened shortly before the exam date.
A number of things were breaking for or against Tyler around the same time. The romance, which had now reached epic proportions and was the talk of his family's side [they, like myself, had fallen under this Scottish beauty's charm and niceness; she even purchased the first available copy of Memoirs of Mr. Pete & Mary Jane Green which I put down to Tyler being on the front cover, as they just broke up around that time].
So it wasn't The Grinch who stole Tyler's Christmas that year but Lemony Snicket's series of unfortunate events, the second crack, which included his not studying for the test, missing the entry grade point of 95% though he did score in the 90s; and concluding with a hair-brained scheme to defraud the insurance company by staging a wreck [the old 'car was stolen' ploy]. I was practically standing on my desk as I gave a slurred-speech Tyler my 'Are you fucking kidding me?' rant. Unfortunately it was freshly after the fact.
The breakup was when he fell over the backside of this perfect life he had built up for himself in the eyes of his social circles, fam included. That's a lot of pressure because you are trying to please everyone with what you think they expect. This is the central theme in the Angelina Jolie flick, Life or Something Like It, with Edward Burns. The film deals in a story where the hocus pocus of life intersects in a movie character's physical timeline via a street corner psychic.
Shortly after the cops saw through his air-tight clear-as-plastic bag of bullshit, the family loss of self-esteem followed and then since misery loves company, the King of Misery sent some company, 'The One Who Never Speaks, his friendly neighborhood junkie who on the surface isn't some thug. This kid also had/has issues, but what young person doesn't, or didn't. I did. My friends did. Even a young 1%er friend caught cancer once [survived], so it's really not ass, gas, or cash.
When Tyler's slow descent became evident to his friends they all wondered why Tyler had this new friend who they credited with Tyler's social fall, but after a while when it seemed that Tyler was making homelessness a career move, so they lost interest. They didn't quit caring but they lost interest in someone who didn't seem interested in his own life. Had the economy been more robust, perhaps that would have helped his employment picture but no matter what or where Tyler tried to outrun his destiny, it always caught up with him. Alcohol isn't Tyler's friend. Having a girlfriend who is or was a stripper carries its own responsibility and is at the other end of dating a socialite in self-esteem points. I did a numerology breakdown on Tyler's booking number. It indicates that this is a new beginning in life for him.
Regardless of the abundance of tax measures passed to replace the money lost in the form of area DMV fees and stuff, none of that or any past public monies has been put toward having more than two, as in one, two persons available to set visitation appointments for inmates. As I was told after two days of bouncing off the system, “You're lucky to get through in less that two hours. You dial in, get the busy signal, hang up and redial.”
For anyone who has ever won tickets to a concert off the radio, this is exactly the process. Ex-fucking-xactly! At approximately $50,000 an inmate of my tax money, is it just me or does it seem reasonable to be able to access visitation to a $50K investment [albeit a losing one given the receptivity rates] in a way not based on chance?
Tyler seems to have used up his free phone calls and now every so often a collect call comes in which I don't accept. If I could pay his bail-out tonight, he'd be searching for his two lost loves as soon as he said 'thanks, I'll pay you back,' before rolling out. Having seen a neat pile of belongings stashed out of sight but someplace where I would catch a glance, I'm thinking the 'little miss' has already moved on.
Now the plan is to get to the trial and get a glance in Tyler's direction, along with hearing what happens next to him. This should prompt a collect phone call again. This time I will take it because this time I do have something to say. The Prodigal Son story is found in the Bible. The modern day version will be found in Temecula. The message of why is what I have to say to the guy on the cover of Memoirs.
Tyler Goulet, trial date, March 29, Morning group, Booking No. 201706462, CASE No. 1702M-4045
Update, the neat pile of belongings is now a scattered mess. It seems being homeless is also life in the fast lane, move it or lose it.