The Drifter, Part 2

Friday, September 14

The homeless man with many names, the young man I call Heathcliff in this article, showed up the next day, Friday – no earlier than 9 a.m., as requested.  It was 9:07, and he had cleaned up and eaten breakfast!  I asked if he had showered at the soup kitchen and he said he’d bathed in the creek.  I wondered if he meant the Animas River which is now so low it looks like a wide creek.

While he talked, I noted that he was also dressed for the nasty “garage work.”  Instead of the dark green pants and the coordinated top that accentuate his long, golden-brown hair, he wore an ugly knit cap that appeared to be made from a sweatshirt, a long-sleeved knit shirt, and old blue jeans. Missing were all the jewelry and feathers he had worn around his neck yesterday.

I asked if he brought water, and by golly he had!   So I put on my baseball cap, grabbed a clipboard and pen and my water bottle, and led the way down my stairs.

We chatted amiably on the short walk to the garage where I propped the entry door open.  He went inside and immediately raised the double car garage door.  I gave him a guided tour of the organization of stuff, and then I showed him the “add-on” room built by a previous tenant when I was in Canada.

“Can you take that apart?” He said he could.

It had been there for almost thirty years, and every time I saw it, I thought about that tenant and the license he took while living in my home.  He was living in MY attic apartment at the time, and he painted MY teal cabinets burgundy!  He said he had built this room for a homeless man, and he used MY 50-foot extension cord to provide power to the shed.  But it wasn’t his space to alter or his electricity to give.  The outdoor outlet is wired to the one bedroom apartment.  So the “generous” tenant was screwing another tenant while he screwed me.

I always hated going in that “add-on room” because the wall blocked the light from the window.  The room was dark, full of old tax returns and tarp-covered empty boxes for the move I had expected to make for at least fifteen years.

However, having read Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston, I knew that taking that room apart had to be done because it was in the southeast corner of my property.  That’s the prosperity center on the bagua map!  I’ve been “getting by” all my life, but I’ve never experienced any level of financial success.  (Here’s an invitation to follow this story and discover, as I do, whether the bagua makes any difference!)

I had yet to identify my destination, didn’t plan to move anytime soon, so those boxes got recycled with the help of a teenager I hired two days before Heathcliff showed up.  He might have more time to help me, even have more skills, and I wouldn’t have to drive him home.  Fascinating how the Universe steps in with what you need when you make a decision to take action.

Standing in the garage now with Heathcliff, I said, “While you’re dismantling that room, I intend to set up places to sort stuff by destination and to begin that sorting.”  I had already phoned the Humane Society Thrift Store, the City Recycling Center, The Methodist Thrift Store, and the Habitat Humanity RESTORE.  I knew who took what.

But, like any other project, something had to happen before I could do that, and I needed Heathcliff to help me.  Current tenants had put their surplus stuff in my garage:  camping gear, coolers, large storage bins, bicycles, and skis.  There was no way to move where I needed to go with their stuff there.

While Heathcliff moved their stuff out, I went upstairs for MY hammer because the one in my toolbox in the garage was missing. And I typed a quick email to my tenants about choices regarding their stuff, adding a list of tasks they could complete in the garage to earn storage space which is not included in the lease. (It’s one of the reasons my rents are $200 cheaper than similar rentals.)

When I came back, I handed Heathcliff the hammer, and I covered the tenant’s stuff with painter’s plastic drop cloths.

At 12:30, I invited my helper to share an organic lunch prepared by me, and we chatted while we ate.  Then I said, “I’ll clean up the kitchen.  Want to load your car with whatever you’ve chosen from the piles or recycle stuff?”

But when I joined him, he was loading his 1992 Subaru with stuff for Habitat Humanity RESTORE.  And so we made the trip, less than three miles, in his dodgy vehicle that rattled, sputtered, and made grinding sounds.

Heathcliff had offered to take it himself, but I was concerned about how the guys there would treat him.

When we went inside RESTORE, I saw a woman and asked, “Is there some guy who can help us unload the stuff I called about earlier?”

Soon enough, a man came out and said, “Hi, I’m Some Guy.”  Laughing, I said, “Some Guy, meet The Man Helping Me.”

On the ride back to my house, I thanked my helper for his work and asked if he was up for more fun tomorrow.  He said he was.

He closed up the garage while I wrote his check and when he came upstairs to sign off, he said, “See you tomorrow!”

Till next time…

Please be kind to everyone you meet for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~ Tzaddi



4 responses to “The Drifter, Part 2

  1. Following this story with interest!! Looking forward to seeing Butch again after 50 years. He’s coming alone….

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Hi, Rod! I’m so happy you’re enjoying it. It’s fairly bizarre from my end. And thanks for the update about your reunion. Crossing my fingers that it’s a good experience for all concerned.


  3. Sherry Schulenberg

    I’m ready for Day 3!!


  4. Hi Sherry! Thanks for stopping by. I’m ready, too. Wondering if and when he’ll show up again.


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