Notes from Emergency Shelter

Author’s note: These are some of the entries I made between February 22, 2018, and May 22, 2018. I went through an intense period of drug and alcohol withdrawal after two years of traveling and then wrote during the 90 days of recovery in Vegas. It took about an hour to record these entries but that one hour of concentrated activity was scattered over a 90 day period at the facility. I lost a lot of writings along the way but it is what it is.

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0222. Irony walks into a room. I walked out of a hospital after quitting my job tying up mental patients for $17/hr — a job most people would run from — hilariously, to walk back into a hospital after 23 months of being on the road to be tied to a bed in 6 point restraints and treated as a mental health patient.

0223. Positive affirmation. It could be worse: I could be Asian.

0224. Insanity. I’ve already had three psychiatric evaluations and passed them all. I told the nurse practitioner and she goes, “Ryan, normal people don’t have three psychiatric evaluations.”

0227. Addicts hating other addicts because of their preferred “drug of choice” is just the same as the overdressed yuppie down the hall in the office at work who you never speak to but to make yourself feel better about yourself talk shit about him in your head because what he does is “such bullshit. . . satisfaction survey idiot”; but he is the same, and you’re all the same.

0228. “Detoxification process“ = trying not to be actively psychotic for 72 hours.

0303. PTSD diagnosis. Professional validation that you’ve had a tough life.
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0305. Group van / transportation. Careful calling out “SHOTGUN!” in a group of drug addicts and mental health patients.

0306. Yuppie square professionals. Surprised at how much experience can be found under a bridge.

0306. Green bananas. Green bananas make you fart.

0308. DMV lady’s like. . . “Smile for the picture!” . . . . . . I am smiling.

0309. Acceptance. I live on a psych facility with 23 people and can’t change any of them.

0311. Tweaker \ tweak·er \ ˈtwē-kər \ [noun] (1): one who works in Research & Development.

0313. We look like Security. 1 lap around the facility is 416 ft (measured using one 12 inch shoe). 416 ft x 12.5 = 5200 ft (1 mile): 100 laps = 8 miles. We’re walking 8 miles a day — in circles.

0314. “Quitting is for losers but chicken is for poor people.” –Michael

0314. Being phoneless. Silence mode = happy mode.

0314. Stability: Having the same phone number for longer than one year.

0315. “How happy are you on a scale from 1 to 10?” “Happiness” is a Big word.

0315. “Why do you keep coming back to Vegas?” It’s the only place where I still have health insurance. Lol

0315. CCDC (Clark County Detention Center) = Couldn’t Complete Drug Court.

0316. Being homeless is when. . . . you can’t just “take a night class, bro.”

0317. Psych facility. Great place to meet women who have given up on trying to fix you or themselves.

0318. Conscious all the time. Now that I’m not drinking and blacking out all the time, I have all this extra time on my hands.

0319. “Rich or poor, as addicts, we share a lot of the same struggles.” Park bench, Park Avenue, blue ink, black ink: definitely the same struggles.

0321. Gentleman. I’d walk into a casino and ask the bartender for a glass of water and feel bad because I couldn’t tip the guy. Even though he’s got a cushy job at a snazzy Hotel & Casino on Las Vegas Boulevard and it takes less than ten seconds to pour a glass of water. I’m on the streets and it’s 117 degrees out; I look more African than he does; hell, I am more African than he is, but I feel bad that I can’t tip the guy.

0323. “Being paranoid.” Paranoid people have real enemies, too.

0403. “CMA (Crystal Meth Anonymous) = Country Music Awards.” –Michael.

0404. 111, 222, or die. I came to this shelter on 1/11 of 2017 and left after 42 days. I relapsed, went to the hospital, ordered a double cheeseburger from the chest pain unit, and went back to the streets — I still lived. I came back on 2/22 of 2018 on a second chance; 2/22 is now my clean date. It seems pretty obvious to me to believe that this may be my last chance at life and recovery, as there is no such thing as 3/33.

0420. It’s just a car. I had to say goodbye to the hoopty today. It got towed while I was on black out status. I’m pretty good at losing things nowadays so, I’m taking it pretty well. I used to joke about how I wanted to give that car a proper burial some day. Weird thing to say, because we’re not supposed to love the things that can’t love us back, but the things that we care about, even if they aren’t people, we fall in love with because they give us something back. Am definitely going to miss that car. It was a good car,

0421. Shit head. Either I think I’m hot shit or a piece of shit – no in between.

0422. Basket case. When your Head takes you on a tRiP, and your Ass is still in the chair.

0423. Me with the bottle. Insignificant ass relationship with myself.

0425. Girl with a needle. Self mutilation for instant gratification in an overall struggle against pain.

0425. Relapse. Suicide installment plan.

0426. Undesirable fact of the decade: the dope stops working at 30.

0428. Awakening. When you start to realize that you have started to realize something.

0428. “You look different.” -Gary, Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada..

0429. Personal anarchy. War, tragedy, homelessness, collapsing states, natural disaster, and the zombie apocalypse will not bring out “the good” in humanity. Won’t bring out “the worst in people,” either. “It,” whatever “it” may be — will only bring out what is in people.

0504. Housing is personal. Took a housing assessment at Clark County Social Services and was given a call back card and told to call back every 30 days while the government tries to “verify homelessness.” How does one “verify homelessness?” Does the Census Bureau have data tools and housing-related statistics on MIA persons? Does social services employ investigators to knock on tents and “talk to the neighbors?” Do they collect discharge papers from homeless shelters? Order a credit report from Experian? Not sure how that works but for the record I’ve slept in cars, tunnels, stairwells, sidewalks. balconies, bathroom stalls, abandoned homes, a haunted house, and a 53-foot tractor trailer — U.S. Express, bitch. So I hope the government will be able to “verify” my street cred.

0514. Sidewalks. Government’s best attempt at keeping street people off the streets.

0516. Risk & reward. Whether you want to get rich, get the girl, get the job, or get revenge, you’ve got to be daring enough to do what most people just aren’t down to do, even if it means breaking the rules, going to jail, going broke, getting into fights, losing your job, losing your friends, looking dumb in front of everyone, or ending up in emergency shelter COD level-2. . . twice.

0520. Beauty is for the few. With entries as personal and biting as some of my notes from 2016 I decided to let my last journal sit for some time. Editing went well albeit harder on me than it was on my editor. Mark didn’t want to make any changes to the actual text because he didn’t want to inject his own voice into the original work or “take away from the rage.” I can care less about the editing as much as the opportunity to work on my stack with an anthropological thinker or one who studies the dead professionally; in the case that something does happen to me: Mark Dyal can always publish my notes under the pseudonym — “Mark Dyal.” True anthropology.