Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Reporters & Homeless People

Reporters are tough to accomodate in this line of work. They want their story, but homeless people don't really want to be reported on. Who does?

Tonight I had Chris F. from KIRO Radio in tow. I ditched him. Actually, I thought he might have a more interesting night hanging out in our shelter dispatch center than sitting on a barstool with me and Father Kim. So we left him, and promised to come back at 10:15 and get him to go with us to one of the bars.

I was a little sceptical about getting everything done tonight. I had to see a guy downtown, and didn't want to stay out until midnight -- between fighting a cold and trying to get in shape for running a marathon, the late hours have been taking their toll. Anyway.

Kim and I had a fairly slow night at Dravus Street. J-Man playing pool, happy milkmaid tending bar. Only tonight she wasn't so happy. A friend of her housemate committed suicide on their front porch. Hung himself, neighbor saw him. Police said he didn't suffer, then they arrested a girlfriend on old warrants or something. So milkmaid was asking for prayer for her friend.

Up at MFQAB (My Favorite Queen Anne Bar) -- interesting dichotomy. The regulars at one end, me and two of my buddies at the other, all of us drinking (a.) decaf coffee, (b.) Diet Pepsi, (c.) Pellegrino water. The answer is (d.) all of the above. Across the room is a bunch of soccer moms and a few dads, looking strangely at home in the new digs which MFQAB is now become. "What's going on?" Turns out it was the local PTA after-meeting. They decided to check out the "new" MFQAB.

Soon I was hugging the principal. (We're buddies, friend of friends sort of thing). Pretty funny.

Back to Nightwatch, picked up the reporter, back down to 3rd and Bell. Pouring rain still (building an ark not such a bad idea around Seattle lately). Anyway, Reporter Chris and Father Kim got into an extended and fairly interesting conversation with R#3 while I talked with regulars inside. Lots going on -- many deaths and health problems among the regulars, have some of the rest of them spooked. I think it is fairly common after the holidays, and when I think about the health compromises most of the 3rd and Bell folks have -- 2 packs and 12 beers a day can take their toll. Anyway people were feeling a little fragile. Bartender D. gave me info for Rev. Norm (which I finally got to him) and my friend, the MWNI conversed with me about moving into our apartments.

Which is another thing. I gave him the application on Thursday night, and I still haven't got it back. Why?

The fact that we have a vacancy is rather weird. I told him I thought something would happen. Well, something did. Tenant in 301 died. We discovered him on New Year's Eve, during the day. Age 57. Died in bed. We'll call him MB.

I had a conversation with him the day he died -- "How you doing?" as he was coming into the building. I held the door for him. "Just can't throw this thing" was his answer. Indeed. So sad.

Anyway, done with 3rd and Bell, but Reporter Chris and Fr. Kim had spent the whole time out on the sidewalk talking to R#3 who had missed his bus in order to be interviewed. I knew the whole thing was going to get compressed down to about 30 seconds or less, but I think R#3 felt a little vulnerable -- he's a true talker, but tends (like all of us) to say too much.

He needed a ride home so we dropped him off uptown, got back to Nightwatch at a reasonable time (I was afraid it was going to be super late -- so much for worrying.)

Pray for me. Pray for the homeless people in this terrible rain. Rick


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