I’m Not Doing A Very Good Job
I’m going to start with what I usually write later in an entry & do thoughts after that. The main event-
Recent sock donations:
-2/3 5:26 pm Queens bound M train African American man 40s 1 pair of socks
-2/4 5:15 pm Bleecker & Sullivan St. African American man 60s He was asking for spare change replied, “Socks?! Yeah!” at being offered a pair of socks. Same time left 1 pair of socks where a person’s stuff was, Caucasian man, 50s, that sleeps on the corner of Bleecker & MacDougal
6:18 pm Broadway Lafayette station BDFM uptown side African American man 70s 1 pair of socks
-2/5 5:54 pm Queens bound E train African American man about 50 He was saying, “$, food, anything helps.” 1 pair of socks
-2/8 10:45 am Bronx bound D train late 30s Caucasian man He was heavy & had a limp. He said, “Yes, absolutely, thank you.” at being offered a pair of socks
11:47 am South Ferry bound 1 train 2 men, one- African American man 40s wrapped in moving blanket Other man was completely wrapped in a throw blanket tremoring 1 pair of socks each.
-2/10 6:16 pm LaGuardia between Bleecker & W3rd Arabic man early 30's. At being offered a pair of socks he said, “Could I have more than 1 pair? It’s very cold I’ve had dirty socks for a long time.” I gave him 2 pairs of socks. He changed them right then & there.
-2/11 2:20 pm 27 degrees I saw someone I know who was heading to the Union Sq bathroom to give a woman camped outside there with her dog dog food. I gave her socks to give her as well. When she got there the woman was gone but I believe she saw her at a later date.
-2/12 5:47 pm tunnel between L and 1/2/3 train. South East Asian man 60s. At being offered a pair of socks he said, “Yes, please, thank you.” I once saw that same man trying to help a hurt pigeon on Broadway.
-2/13 4:09 pm South Ferry bound 1 train African American man 60s 16 degrees 1 pair of socks
-2/15 6:58 pm 8th St & 6th Ave African American man early 50s saying, “Spare some change for the homeless?” Replied with, “Yeah, thank you.” At being offered a pair of socks. Raining, 30 degrees
-2/16 5:37 pm 10th St & University African American man late 30s Replied, “Yes, thank you.” At being offered a pair of socks. It had just poured.
-2/17 7:58 pm N8th & Driggs (Bklyn) Man sleeping on bench. Left 1 pair of socks
8:18 pm 32nd St & 6th Ave African American man 40s Replied with, “Yes ma’am I appreciate it.” At being offered a pair of socks.
-2/18 11:14 am Brooklyn bound. BDFM train 34th St platform African American man 1 pair of socks
7:13 L train stairs Latino man 30s Replied, “Yes, bless you.” At being offered a pair of socks.
-2/19 11th St & Broadway in front of Grace Church close to 7pm Latino man 40s Had a sign reading, “Help Me.” He said thank you 2x at being offered a pair of socks.
5:33 pm Caucasian woman 20s with a cat selling jewelry and had a sign reading she was doing this so that she and her cat could have a place to sleep. Outside of the Union Sq station. Replied with, “Yes I don’t have any clean socks. God bless you.” At being offered a pair of socks.
-2/20 2:40 pm 37th St. between 7th & 8th avenues. African American woman about 80 She had very bad teeth. She had a sign reading, “Need Food Money” Replied with, “Yes thank you I could use socks.” & was smiling upon receiving a pair of socks
2:45 pm 7th Ave & 34th St Caucasian woman early 40s She had a flip phone* She had a sign reading, “I am a homeless person… if you could help me out with money or food…” Replied with, “Yes, thank you.” At being offered a pair of socks.
-2/21 1:15 pm Houston between West Broadway & Thompson Caucasian man 30's Sign reading, “Traveling Broke Hungry.” We had a short conversation after I offered him socks. He said yes he always needs socks because he’s a traveller. That he was looking for socks that deal with gout. I talked about being a dog walker & having wet feet all day but nevertheless having the ability to change them at the end of the day. That this got me into thinking about people not having that ability. I accidentally gave him 2 pairs of socks. Some of the socks donated to me are new in individual cardboard packaging and people really seem to love getting those. That the newness of them makes them feel extra special. I failed to note that these were 2 pairs stuck together. I felt frustrated with myself in that I could have helped an additional person. I’m trying to make peace with it by telling myself that I have more than 1 pair of socks, that it’s important & certainly ok to have a change of socks.***
3:20 pm W Broadway between Duane & Reade African American woman late 40s sitting in a sleeping bag at a bus stop with a cart of gear next to her. Looked slightly nervous when I approached. Smiled, laughed, & said thank you! When offered a pair of socks
-2/22 12:42 pm South Ferry bound 1 train Woman, her head was down & she had no shoes on just socks 1 pair of socks & I had a packet of nut butter I left her too
Next up, Flops and Freezing-
I have made a few observations on below freezing days.
2/13 was a bitterly cold day.
At 1:34 in morning it was in the 20s. I was getting off the R train at the last stop in Brooklyn and the woman I had talked about before in an earlier entry, “One of the times socks were rejected, that woman just wanted to talk to me. Like she was lonely. And I did……those women, they had bare bleeding, seeping pus legs that definitely could’ve benefited from socks.” I saw her getting off the train too and going across the platform for the other train sitting in the station.
I also saw a very average looking woman that while riding the train looked like she fell asleep but at the last stop she didn’t look startled, like oh no I missed my stop. She simply walked across to the other train. Was she a homeless person as well?
At 2:35 pm it was 18 degrees. The tunnel connecting the L train & the 1/2/3 trains, which normally has several homeless people, was empty.
At 4:43 pm it was still 18 degrees. The man I left socks for on the corner of MacDougal St & Bleecker was sleeping.
It’s been interesting having conversations with people about the supposed rule to forcibly remove homeless people from the street when the temperature drops below freezing. Twice I’ve had immediate reactions of, Of course. That’s what must be done. & as we converse further they see a different, more deep angle.
I have let my nerves I suppose, maybe my thoughts, get the better of me several times and I am not happy with myself these days to say the least.***
That bitterly cold day I ran into my buddy Arpana. Arpana is an Osho practitioner. I was telling him about this project. We talked about my day too, the here & there’s I was going to. He was concerned about me doing that much on such a freezing day. I told him it’s a good thing though because it increases my opportunities to give out socks. Later in the day I found myself at the Jay St subway station in Brooklyn. On the upper level there was a large African American woman standing, late 20s, swollen bare legs, thin white blanket draped over her shoulders. A look, like a far away stare on her face let my stress get the best of me & I descended to the lower level. Once I got there I thought of what I said to Arpana & I thought of him being an Osho-their practice can use very extroverted means of spreading love-dancing, hugging, using a loud voice. So I marched myself back up there. Furthermore, I had new diabetic socks courtesy of my friend Darlene Charneco.** Ideal for swollen legs. But she was gone. & once again I felt a wave of disappointment with myself. However when I went back down to the lower level there she was with a man in his 20s, in regular clothes, with a cell phone. What was their relationship? What’s the story?
Some people who look homeless are not & the other way around. Or maybe she is still a homeless person. Not simple at all.
There were other moments when I flopped-
-2/4 6:36 pm 53rd St & 3rd Ave entrance M/E/6 trains Caucasian woman 70s She was smoking, sitting on the ground. She waved her hand hand at me & said, Get out of here.” At being offered socks.
-2/10 1:49 pm West Broadway & Houston African American man 40s His clothes were quite dirty. I left him 1 pair of socks. I went back at 5:19 pm & he was gone but the socks were still there. I took them back. These were later one of the pairs of socks given to the man on LaGuardia.
-2/11 2:08 pm W4 & Greene St Caucasian man late 50s Upon being offered a pair of socks he said, “Oh no thank you.” 28 degrees
-2/12 12:08 pm South Ferry bound 1 train Young hipster looking guy who was going only up to the men in the train & would ask them for a dollar for something to eat. 27 degrees He had a very wild look on his face & I didn’t feel safe offering him socks.
Earlier that day there was a man at the W4th St subway stop asking for $. He did not look like a homeless person and I did not stop to offer him socks.* Later I saw a man on the train, clearly a homeless person, yelling, shirt open. Not asking for help. And I did not feel comfortable going up to him.
I find this to be a trying juxtaposition: The theory being some of the people who ask for help, though I’m not negating that they do need help, but there is a possibility they might need less help than those not asking in that they have the ability to communicate, the realization that they do need assistance, and a reality of the world around them. Those not seeking aid may lack all or some of those qualities and so may be deeper in the hole. But because of just that it makes attempting to help them that much trickier.
-2/15 5:19 pm African American woman 70s sitting on a bench in the Union Sq subway station She had bare legs that were cracked & raw. I extended my arm with socks & offered them to her. Her eyes were glazed over not acknowledging me. It was snowing out.
-Failed to offer socks to an enormous man on a Brooklyn bound R train. He was walking up and down asking for change. That same train a homeless man rode the entire way. Sometimes he would laugh to himself. When the enormous man got on he looked uncomfortable. Failed to offer him socks either. He stared at me for a very long time. It was a bad feeling.
-sometime in February: 1 pm Chambers Street 1/2/3 uptown side African American man wrapped in a blanket rocking back and forth. I did not offer him socks because he had refused them before. Last year when I did my scarves project I tied one to a pole near that very bench where I’ve been seeing him sit for over a year now. I did that hoping he would get the scarf.
And there were a couple of more instances where I felt I did not step up to the plate. Again, sometimes my nerves get the better of me. Sometimes I find myself judging people based on what they have and sometimes I do not* I don’t think I’m alone in that. 2/21 I saw a man on E86th who sits with a sign that reads to the effect that he can do carpentry work but all of his tools were stolen. I overheard him tell a woman that the homeless man across the street is a heroin addict. Whether true or not true does that make someone a less or better person? And also in a previous entry I wrote about me being the aggressor, going up to people, could cause a homeless person to have a poor reaction because of vulnerability. But I’ve seen this same outcome with me. That on the occasions a homeless person does get very in my face sometimes I don’t respond how I wish I did.
All in all I’m not feeling to good with myself these days. I don’t think I’m trying hard enough.***
Ok let’s steer this ship around & try to be positive.
1) My friend Richard Nash Gould gave me socks for my birthday! Richard is quite a guy so that present really meant a lot to me. & it’s amusing how I’m getting socks presents since starting this project. It’s like when I first adopted cats & people were gifting me cat everything.
2) My friend Darlene Charneco sent me an absolutely heart bursting package of socks.** It contained the ever so helpful diabetic socks. Why it was extra loving is she drew a little picture (if Simple as Socks ever gets a business card this is the image!) and she wrote me a rockin card. I’m going to type some of what she wrote here:
“So! A funny story….I was running some errands and stopped into CVS……and suddenly I overheard a woman talking on her cell phone…behind me…and she says “I’m at CVS. Getting socks for Victoria” Talk about a reminder! …..I had made a mental note-next time I was in CVS to pick up some of the diabetic socks for S.A.S…..and there I was….and I was just about to forget……I gave the woman a big smile……Who knows-maybe she was even picking up socks for you?? But I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around that…just still laughing that she would be picking up socks for a Victoria….”
Darlene is an accomplished artist & a very informative blogger:
She is also founder of the 10% club. I think some readers will find it very helpful because they have projects & causes of their own they’d like to do things with.
She was kind enough to suggest to me about using the 10% club to benefit simple as socks and I know she used her own financial contribution to the 10% club from the sale of her artwork to purchase the socks she mailed me.
A couple I cat sit for, Emily & Jesse Emery left me a tip recently with the intention I use part of it towards one of my projects like Simple as Socks & I am.
I do want to write again though while I truly truly appreciate all efforts to help me fundraising and/or donating $ to me for me to purchase socks is just not the avenue I want to take for Simple as Socks. I just have to go with what feels right to me at a given time.
Next, buddy of mine, Project Carroll volunteer- www.projectcarroll.livejournal.com and sound designer & cinematographer, Dan Waynick, posted a video to his Instagram the other day which features a homeless person & I want to share that here:
Lastly, on February 8th, a brutally cold day, the 2016 HOPE count was conducted & now we await the results. For information about the count which attempts to chronicle the amount of people on NYC’s streets, and if you’re interested in participating in 2017:
Person was a socks receiver. He had no socks.
Socks birthday present
Darlene Charneco’s Simple as Socks sketch!