Shelter

It’s amazing living our here in Utah. I am shocked that I have been given the opportunity to ride the mountain all winter long. Still, I am baffled that humans find it enjoyable to ride down snow as fast as they can. When I think about it, snowboarding doesn’t make any sense. When I do it, snowboarding doesn’t need to make sense. A fairy tale without strife or challenge has no appeal to a man like myself and in this dystopian world that I traverse there are many obstacles. On one hand, I live with a privileged class of people who have enough money to put most of their time to snowboarding. On the other hand, I am out of money and don’t have a regular place to sleep and have been couch surfing for over two weeks now. This story is about sleeping in a shelter.

I started my night with dinner and a girl that I met online. In my mind I felt a desire to sleep at her house but I would not betray my real intentions. I was a gentleman and we had a good time. I didn’t need to ask to be able to tell that she was not the type to let someone sleep over after a first date and so I left graciously with a kiss. Making it back to my city of Ogden I wandered, looked up hotel prices, and eventually called the shelter. The pastor in charge of the shelter told me to stop by for some space in the dormitory. When I arrived, most people were already asleep. They gave me a sleeping bag and made some space for myself in the center of the room with the rest of the homeless. It was difficult getting to sleep because there was a younger man who would moan loudly. When I got a glimpse of him it looked like he was drooling on the floor. Eventually someone asked if he was sick and took him to a different room. Only then did I fall asleep.

I was awake before anyone else and eventually the pastor came in to get everyone up. Like a disturbed rooster, he called out loudly “wake up time” and then left. It was easy for me to pack up all my stuff and be out of the dormitory quickly. I was about to leave when the pastor asked if anyone would volunteer to shovel the sidewalks, and so I shoveled. By the time I was done they were serving breakfast and so I sat and ate with all of the people I had slept with the night before; there were about 40 of us. We were served a bowl of watery oatmeal and donuts but by the time I got to the donut part of the line they were all gone. I sat inconspicuously and ate my oatmeal trying not to draw attention to myself. Eventually people filled in to the seats besides me to eat their breakfast. Conversation revolved mostly around the poor quality of the food and how the place was mismanaged. After I was done with my meal I thanked the pastor for the food and the warm place to sleep. I tried to make eye contact with him but he seemed unfazed and simply nodded his approval. It was as if everyone in that building had been infected with a disease that made them numb to the world around them. As I was left I was scoffed at by a member of the church for not staying for service, but I had had enough and I was out the door.

At breakfast, I remember thinking of Nietzsche’s slave morality and resentment. The people in that room were filled with a victim mentality, cynicism, and sheer laziness more so that I have ever seen before. They hated the food that they had just been given for free. It was hard for me to wrap my mind around what these people must have gone through to get to such point in life. Most of them were over the age of 40 and I had no idea how they would be able to continue in spite of so much misery. Even the pastor, through his mission for god, had been infected with the disease. The economy of emotions had not been generous to these people and I did not feel that I could do much good by sticking around.

There are always sparks of light in any place. The old man I shoved with did a warm up jig that we all thought was pretty funny and there was a younger boy who helped serve the food who seemed more innocent than his age. I do not know where I will sleep tonight and I may head back to the shelter if I do not find something by a decent time. It would be a time to raise a shield to the negative energy as I traverse through dim and dingy places on my way to something higher. As for today I will put it out of my mind with ease as head to the mountain to hang out with my more privileged friends. The mountain is something I am thankful for as it makes all my time spent in these places worth it. All for that next run down the slopes.

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