Ingratitude

Homeless woman
Stock photo

Ingratitude

By Alan Carl Nicoll
Copyright 2018 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

The following are all the entries in my diary in which I talk about “Jody,” an impoverished and apparently homeless white woman of very advanced age, who walks around my impoverished, seedy neighborhood in Bakersfield, California, greatly bent over at the waist, with a walker.  The first long entry was previously published here as “Three Oldsters on Thanksgiving.”

The document runs ten pages in my word processing software.  If you get tired of the minutiae, I suggest searching for the last entry, “{6/1/18},” because that’s where the plot thickens.  A very few comments follow this last entry.

Explanatory comments added today in the body are in [brackets].  I welcome responses, but I am not looking for praise for my very limited charity.

{11/23/17}  [Thanksgiving Day]  Well, I played Good Samaritan.  I go out, thinking I’d walk to Carl’s Jr. for dinner—I’d checked, and they were open.  I go to see Willie [An old black man with a walker who had been hanging out at “the corner store”] and give him the radio that I’d promised him, and I added $40 in cash, discreetly part of the bundled radio and ear buds.  I tell him that the ear buds will last about three days, “If you don’t use them.”  I normally give him $5 maybe three times a month, and had been doing this since last winter, but I got paid yesterday and have $600-odd coming as a refund on a book order that I cancelled because they hadn’t delivered it (the Taschen edition of Van Gogh’s Letters, six hardcovers, I’ve been wanting it for ten years), so I’ve got (had) $1,600 disposable this month and had $200 from the ATM yesterday.  Anyway, either I have a bright idea, or somebody else does, of going to the casino across the street for dinner—not only closer, but better.  So I ask Willie if he wants to go with me.

He says no, “But Jody will.”  Jody was the name of my aunt Irmgard’s yappy little dog, but this Jody is a tiny old lady, looks even older than my seventy, with a very beat-up walker.  I think she might be homeless.  [Unlike most of the homeless people I see around, she never has many possessions beyond just her walker and a purse.]  I’m hesitant, but I’m cornered.  I had just been thinking earlier that day about Willie and what to give him besides the radio, and about the other down-and-outers in the neighborhood who ask me for money.  I always give something if I can, how much depending on what they ask for and how needy I judge them to be and vibes, but $2 is pretty automatic.  I want to give more, and I don’t want to give more.  I get $1800 a month Social Security (after Medicare Part B), and my rent for a fairly ratty one bedroom is $800 a month [includes all utilities and cable TV].  My other expenses are quite low because I don’t have a car, totaling less than $100, plus food.  So I have about $600 a month disposable.  I am “comfortable” in a poor neighborhood.  Not as poor as Kerntown on Baker St. between the railroad tracks where I spent my first night out of prison, but poor enough.

Most months I give less than $20 to panhandlers.  If I drove a car I’d never be panhandled.  How much should I devote to “good works”?  By buying luxuries, I am condemning children in Africa to death; I buy my toys with their blood.  For most of my life I’ve been troubled by this question, and I finally came up with “the 10% solution.”  I should give ten percent, like “good Christians” do. I’m an atheist and sometimes call myself a humanist, can I do less than a “good Christian”?  (I sorta hate “good Christians,” shame on me.)  And can I give just money, or should it be 10% of my life also?  You know the answer.  Now, is that 10% of my free time, or of my entire day?  Free time.

But the most important part of the “ten percent solution” is to make a commitment.  And this I have never done.  So I waffle and I eat out and I spend $640 on six books while I have 450 books I haven’t read, this is how I live, and others are homeless on Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the time—a very few by choice, some because of drugs or alcohol, and many just by bad luck.  If my stepfather hadn’t died while I was in prison, I myself would have been homeless when I got out, at least for the first night (the money I got from the Bureau of Prisons didn’t even cover the cab ride to the bus station).  As it was, I had $6,000 in the bank and Social Security on the way.  I was lucky that I did not end up homeless, because people convicted of sex crimes don’t deserve any better, our society has decided.  The scrap heap is good enough for us.

Jody wants to go to dinner, so I carry her little brown paper bag, saying, “This won’t get me in trouble, will it?”  I’m sometimes a Good Samaritan, but I try not to be stupid—if I go to prison again for a parole violation, it will be the end of me.

“No.”  So we walk over to the casino.  I can hear about one word in four that Jody says, she talks so softly and is indifferent to the noise of traffic, and she says very little anyway.

Security guards by the half-dozen at the door.  They look huge.  We can’t bring in the bag, though we can leave it at the desk.  Jody dumps it in the trash.

We sit at a table in the Blackjack Lounge.  I ask her if she wants a drink, and she says, “A Coke.”

“Okay, but I meant like a beer or wine.”

“Rosé.”  I usually have to ask her once or twice or three times what she said, even indoors, she speaks so softly.  Most often, it doesn’t look like she’s expecting a reply, so I don’t stress over the things I don’t hear.

I ask the bartenderess for menus, two Cokes and a glass of rosé.  No rosé.  She rattles off the names of what they have, I go back and ask Jody, yada yada, finally get that settled, cabernet.

We decide on the buffet, which has a traditional turkey dinner, really good as it turns out, though I miss corn on the cob.  Plastic plates and utensils.  There are no veggies at all, and I think about my mother’s green bean casserole, something that was very popular at one time but I always hated.  We chat a bit, and in telling her about my family, I tell her about the ten years in prison and the wife dying, the son with her hated relatives.  Jody asks why prison, and I say, “You sure you want to know?” and I tell her.  Possession of child pornography, downloading the wrong files from the Internet, public defender who was no help, etc., ten years.  (I don’t mention the twenty years of supervised release.)  It doesn’t seem to faze her.  We finish dinner.  I say, “I cleaned my plate.”  She did pretty well on hers that had looked like too much.

She wants a cigarette, so I get her a pack, Marlboros, and order an amaretto as well, my go-to, special-occasion, after dinner drink.  The bartenderess seems uncertain—a shot?  I say a snifter, a globe-like thing, plus hand gestures.  She gets the right kind of glass.  I give her my debit card.  The dinners were complimentary!  Awesome, but now I feel bad about it because it is, after all, a casino, the free food is there for the players, not the freeloaders.  But when I find out how much the cigarettes cost, I don’t feel so bad for them any more:  $9.00!

Jody can’t smoke inside (I checked), so we don’t linger long.  She thanks me, and I say that this is better than Carl’s Jr.  I scarf down a minislice of apple pie (good) and we leave.  Golden State Casino has excellent food on Thanksgiving, at least, and I’d guess at any time.  It’s been my experience that casinos as a rule are good places to eat.

I take Jody back to the corner where I had picked her up, she thanking me along the way and talking a lot this time.  I tell her next Thanksgiving I’ll round up half a dozen homeless and take them over, but it’s a joke.  That would kill the proverbial goose.  She tells me she won’t tell anybody about my being in prison.

Willie is listening to the radio.  Now what to do with Jody?

Figuring out her story is an exercise in patience, so what I sorta got was garbled.  Her daughter, who had died of bone cancer, or somebody else, had left her there, with a promise to pick her up later.  Willie says she’s been at the methadone clinic across the street all day.  I give her my flip phone to call her dead daughter, or somebody, but she has trouble.  I try calling the daughter, or somebody, get a machine, hand her the phone, and she leaves a message.  So far so good.

It’s about 5:45 and I want to see if Rachel Maddow was going to be on, silly of me I know now, but what to do with Jody?  I say I’m going home, but I’ll be back at 9:00 to see if she’s been picked up.  When I get home it’s 67 degrees outside.

I’m watching the temperature and the time, Maddow lets me down by not working on Thanksgiving Day, so at about 6:20 I grab my little blanket that they call a “throw” and head out again.  She’s still there, doesn’t want the blanket.  Anyway, while I was gone she had called again and left another message.

I wait and hem and haw, my feet hurt.  Other people, younger, are hanging around the corner.  Willie is saying, “You can’t leave her with these gang bangers.”  How did she become my responsibility?  I don’t want to pay for a cab, I’m thinking $40 minimum, maybe $60 to get Jody to Oildale.  I want her dead sister to show up.  But I’m cornered again and it’s time to get this over with.  I go back home to get my forgotten wallet, and return to Jody, the crowd is gone.  I call Bakersfield Taxi.  Can they send a cab to Union and Adams?

The guy says forty minute wait, they’re busy.  I say, go ahead, send the cab, I’m going to try another company, if they can get here sooner I’ll call back and cancel.  I try the other number in my speed dial (I plugged these numbers in several months ago but had never used them).  Downtown Taxi speaks only Spanish, I guess.  I might have thought Arabic, but each time he says something he ends it with “cinco.”  I call back Bakersfield Taxi to confirm that I need a cab.  They tell me that I never called them before!  I check my call history, no, it was Bakersfield Taxi that I had called.

I argue with him, etc., and another person is put on the phone.  He assures me that a taxi will be there in forty minutes.  Frustrated, I tell him, “Don’t disappoint me.”  Okay.  I hang up.  I’m looking at a forty minute wait, maybe, with no place to sit but the curb, and it’s getting colder.  I tell Willie that there must be someone who regulates taxi companies in Bakersfield.  He says that Yellow Cab was great, you never wait more than ten minutes.  Puzzling out his words and meanings is a full-time job.  [He’s an alcoholic.]

This corner gets a lot of foot traffic.  A couple of hot prostitutes work this area.  There was gunplay at the Playfair Market [“the corner store”] here a couple of weeks ago.  A friend of Willie’s wanders nearby, his arm in a cast, and says to try the casino, they usually have a cab there.  Great idea.  I walk over to the casino, there’s no cab, but they’ll call Scotty.  Scotty says twenty minutes.

I return to the Blackjack Lounge to wait.  It’s 7:02.  I call Bakersfield Taxi to cancel the cab; confusion, I got the second guy again, but he says okay.  I wait.  Three employees at a gaming table—“three card poker,” whatever that is—are rapt by a commercial on the big screen TV, something I’ve seen a hundred times.  That’s what you call boredom.

I study the table I’m sitting at, looks like a small version of Texas Hold’em.  Twenty minutes go by.  What is Jody thinking, that I bailed on her?  Twenty-five.  I return to the front desk, some confusion, my guy is leaving, going off shift I suppose.  Other guy, who has a chrome-dome like an egg, says they’ll try another number, he says something about Uber, my guy calls the other number, they say fifteen to twenty minutes.  Bald guy says never mind, I guess he calls Scotty, I’m confused, but then he says that Scotty is “almost there.”  I go outside to wait.  Security at the door is down to two bodies.  Meaning guards.  Before I can say I’m waiting for a taxi, Scotty arrives.  Fifteen seconds since I left the front desk.

Scotty is Hispanic—!—and middle-aged, looks kind, seems okay, so we go across to Jody.  Before she gets in I ask him how much to take her to Oildale, to her street, he says $25.  I take out my wallet and fish among the bigger bills (twenties) and Scotty warns me twice about hiding my cash.  There is a pedestrian nearby.  So I give Scotty $40, smiles all around, I fumble Jody’s walker into the cab, and sayonara Jody.

Willie gives me a hug and talks too long in his slurred and unintelligible way, alcohol breath.  He says he was in prison; I never knew that.  Why does he tell me that now?  I tell him, “I don’t always have money, most days I couldn’t have done this, I got two hundred yesterday at the ATM, but if something like this comes up again, come get me, you know where I live,” etc., and I come home.

Whew.  How do I feel about all this?  Pretty damn good.  What did it cost?  With the $40 I was giving Willie anyway, it cost me about $105 and the radio, which had been sitting in my closet for a year.  I’ve paid more and gotten less.  It’s one time that I made my ten percent contribution.

{11/26/17}  [Three days later.]  Had a surprise visit just now from “Jody,” that is, [name deleted], whom I met on Thanksgiving, as told at length above.  She just dropped in, and unfortunately, her one topic of conversation was a dog she once owned who disappeared some time ago, but which she is convinced she saw today, though it didn’t recognize her.  There were some awkward pauses, as you may imagine.  She took my phone number.  I’ve acquired another “friend.”

I told her about my thoughts regarding a Christmas party, and also that, given the limits of my resources (mostly lack of chairs and space in the living room) I might just limit it to X and myself.  I can’t imagine how he would react to a party of me, Willie, Jody, and him.

{11/28/17}  Yesterday, Jody knocked on my door again.  I don’t consider her a friend and don’t want her for a friend as long as all she can talk about is her dog.  I told her I didn’t have time for her “today” and suggested she come back tomorrow.  I’ll give her another chance, but I am pessimistic.

A Christmas party with Willie, Jody, X, and me?  “The horror!”  X is tedious enough, but doesn’t seem to mind when I carp about his tediousness.  Willie and Jody, I can’t even understand.

{3/15/18}  Yesterday Jody came by, around 8:00 PM, as pathetic as a wet kitten.  She has exhausted most of my patience; I gave her $10 and kicked her out into the rain at 10:00.  Actually, I didn’t “kick her out”; rather, I said, “It’s late,” and “I’m finding this very difficult.”  Something like that.  She apologized and got out.  I don’t want to send an old woman out into the cold and the rain at a time when buses won’t get her to her shelter, but she brings this on herself—she could have ridden the bus to her daughter’s earlier.  When I suggested riding the bus, she complained that it was too difficult or something, but she makes no effort, apparently, to learn the routes.  She’s not senile, her mind seems reasonably good, so I don’t know the whole story and frankly don’t want to.

{4/8/18}  What subject do I care to explore further?  None in particular.  The first subject that occurs to me does not appeal to me:  Jody.  She was here from 6:00 until 10:00, mostly sleeping.  And I “loaned” her $49.

{4/9/18}  Jody came by at about 5:50 PM.  She soon fell asleep.  I told her to leave at 6:20.  At 6:40 she was out, $10 richer.  Never again will she cross my threshold except to use the bathroom.  No more cash until next month.  That’s it.

{4/10/18}  Yesterday evening Jody came by around 5:55 PM.  Reluctantly, I let her in.  I allowed her to have a 7-Up.  She asked for a pen and paper, which I supplied.  She borrowed my phone and dialed Social Security, using my programmed number.  I said something about her daughter, and she mentioned a son.  This amazed me—why does she never seem to have a place to stay if she has two grown children?  I said something to the effect that her children should be taking care of her.  She didn’t disagree.

Rachel Maddow was on, so I was watching that for a minute.

Then I noticed that Jody had fallen asleep.

I was annoyed.  The previous evening, she had slept here from 6:00 until 10:00 PM, when I woke her and got her out.  I got angry.  She was abusing my willingness to help her.  I watched the TV while formulating what I was going to say to her.  I decided that I would “ask” her to leave, and tell her that I wasn’t going to let her in any more, she had abused the privilege beyond my endurance, and stuff like that.

I did wake her, with difficulty.  She was very groggy and asked the time.  I told her, and she seemed to think it was late.  I said, “No, the sun is still up.”  Every time she spoke I had to mute the TV and ask her what she said.

Then she was asleep again.  I nagged at her, told her to sit up.  She said it was difficult.  I told her she had to leave, but I gave no speech about our future relations.  [I’m a wimp when it comes to confrontations.]  Eventually she asked if she could use the bathroom, and I allowed that.  I’m not a beast.

While she was in the bathroom I imagined that she would fall asleep in there, or cut her wrists, and so on, but she came out in a few minutes, picked up her purse, and sat down.  I didn’t want her to sit down again, but I thought she might be getting ready to leave.  She fiddled and futzed around, opening pockets of her purse and closing them.  She mentioned that she had lost her wallet again.  She drank some more 7-Up.  She asked for “a couple bucks” so she could “get something to eat.”  Well, I know she buys lottery tickets and cigarettes, but that’s perhaps not my business.  I looked around for my wallet and finally found it.  I had a ten and a one.  I gave her the ten, very reluctantly, because I’m short of money this month again, shorter than usual.  It didn’t help that I had given her $50 on Sunday last.

Finally, at 6:40, she got up and hobbled to the door.  I got up and went to the door also.  She was having trouble turning the knob, so I did it, then picked up the bag of dog food she had left with me.  She said, “Oh, that’s where it was,” or something like that.  We said good night, and she left.

What a relief not to have to deal with her nonsense any more.  If she can’t stay with her children, if they treat her badly, perhaps there are reasons.  I’m speculating, because when I ask about such things, she mutters an answer or an evasion, whatever it is I can’t hear it and I rarely ask her to repeat anything that’s not a question because it’s tedious to keep doing that.  

It was about 11:10 when she again knocked on my door!  I did nothing.  She kept knocking.  Finally I yelled, “Go away!”  The knocking stopped.

I’m not going to let her in again, ever, unless it’s to use the bathroom.  No more phone use.  No more cash this month.  This is what I intend, and I don’t think this is unreasonable.  I have four people to whom I give cash every month, and she is not necessarily more deserving than they are.  I am done being annoyed with her; now I am hardened because of her.  Curiously, this does not trouble me at all.

{4/20/18}  Jody came by twice last night.  In each case I refused to let her in and the first time I told her that I couldn’t give her any money for a week—not strictly true, because the second time I gave her my change, including maybe a dozen quarters, the remains of my laundry money.  She still seems to find it unbelievable that she is denied access here.  I told her it’s “the new normal.”  She told me, absurdly, that she’s getting her money tomorrow.  I no longer believe in this money.  [This was $17,000 she said she was getting from Social Security; she said she was going to buy a car with it, an old Corvette for—coincidentally?—seventeen grand.  She repeated this story every time I saw her, but eventually stopped when I hadn’t seen her for a few weeks.]

{4/22/18}  Jody continues stopping by, asking to come in, asking for money, and saying that she will be getting her money from Social Security any day now.  I no longer believe that story.  SS may make you wait forever for your money, but I can’t see them making daily promises and breaking daily promises.  No need to point this out to her, of course.

{4/28/18}  Yesterday evening I was much annoyed by dogs barking endlessly.  Also, Jody came by to “borrow” $20.  [I gave it to her; I had gotten paid.]  Later she came by and asked for money and I mentioned the $20.  At first she denied having received it, then remembered it but said she couldn’t find it.  She came by twice more but was turned away with nothing.  I am unsure when I’ll start providing her with cash again, perhaps in a week.  I also intend to start keeping track of how much I give to people.  Later, Irene came by to borrow $10.  [A married woman who hit me up a few times for cash “loans,” never repaid.  I have a low tolerance for this kind of broken promise.]  And I had vague ideas of saving money this month.  I think I’ll have to be a bit more stingy from now on.  Irene keeps promising to pay, but it has yet to happen.

Jody is plaguing me.  Twice in the last two hours she has come to my door asking for money, first $10, then $3.  What she said she wanted it for is immaterial, because I no longer believe her.  I asked if she had found the $20 I’d given her, and she said no.  I asked her how much she thought I could give her in a month; or at least, that’s what I wanted to say and was prepared to say, but it didn’t come out that way.  At any rate, I ended with, “Not this week.”  Let’s see how long it is before she’s back.  I understand that I’ve been a soft touch for her ever since last Thanksgiving; I am a soft touch no longer.  That last $20 I gave her is the last $20 I’ll ever give her at one time again.  Maybe $20 a month.

Every time there’s a knock at the door I have to put on my robe [or shorts, these days] before answering, because at home alone I’m typically underdressed or even naked, unless I’m expecting someone.

Now, as to other matters.  Yesterday, as I was arriving home after meeting X—I had gone to his house to help him clean it up—I was entering the driveway of the motel and saw Jody and Irene coming towards me, apparently being herded by Susy, my landlady.  Susy was carrying a long pole, like a broomstick.  And she was telling Jody not to come around any more [I thought], and Jody was arguing with her.  As I passed Susy on the way to my place, having no desire to interfere with or even question her actions, she said, “Don’t open your door to her.”  Meaning Jody.  I said okay.  And so I am relieved of a burden I am very happy to be relieved of; I burden I could bear rather easily but which nonetheless had become irksome and more expensive than I was happy with.

{5/19/18}  [About three weeks later.  Not sure if this gap is real or just a matter of no written record.]  Jody came by last night at 11:45 PM, asking for money, a buck and a half “to get something to eat.”  I was so annoyed with her knocking so late that I turned her away with nothing.  I felt bad about that afterwards, but it didn’t keep me awake.  The ethics of this question seems to trouble few other than me.  Today I gave out $7.00 when asked by persons with whom I have no special relationship; why then “so hard” on Jody?  Is it enough to say that she irritates me and that she has family (son and daughter) yet apparently is homeless?  Is it enough to recall that I gave her a twenty which she promptly lost?  I have no reason to believe that she buys either drugs or booze, though she buys lottery tickets and cigarettes; but she’s also apparently a liar about money.  Do I need to justify denying her sometimes, given that I’ve often been generous to her despite my own lower-class means?  I have no rule in place, so I give or withhold without a rule; in part it depends on obvious factors, but also to an extent on whim.  Just as I was writing the last sentence she came to my door, wanting $2.50 for cigarettes.  This is twice in about two weeks that she’s come by; in the past it had been a daily thing.  But enough about her.  Anyone wanting to read more, such as about my first encounter with her, should follow this link:  Three Oldsters on Thanksgiving.  [Same text appears at the start of this document.]  She appears often in this diary, too, though not much recently.

{5/26/18}  A review of my experiences with Jody might be of interest; I posted the following on Twitter [in response to someone else’s tweet]:

I saw your pinned tweet and am inspired by it, and I used to think such things until I moved to a poor neighborhood (not by choice).  The need out here is bottomless…I paid $40 to a cab driver to get a woman home, I wouldn’t do that now.  I’ve learned bitter lessons re helping.

The 70+ woman I sent home in a cab is now my midnite door knocker.  She has grown son and dtr, but homeless by choice, a foolish mess–won’t give up her 2 dogs; & she lies. I gave her $20 & she asked for more the same day–she’d lost it.  In 6 mos she used me up but I still help.

I used to let her in my apt, she’ sleep for hours, and when it got too late I’d kick her out, once into the rain. Finally I’d had enough and no longer let her in; all I provide is occasional $. She hasn’t been by in more than a week.  She helped me find the bottom of my pity.

{5/30/18}  Jody came by three times yesterday.  First, she asked for ten bucks, saying something about paying me back in a day or two; I gave her nothing because she had asked for ten the previous day and I gave her five.  Second, returning within half an hour, she gave me a letter she had written to me.  I closed the door and read the letter, which was full of complaining that I had changed, that I was not properly valuing “our friendship,” and so on.  Third, she knocked on my side window, which she’d never done before; I ignored this, and she then knocked on the door.  She asked for shoe laces, which I didn’t have; she didn’t ask about my reaction to the letter, and I didn’t offer it, though I wanted to defend myself against her unreasonableness.  Today I’m apathetic about the whole thing.  In sooth, I cannot sensibly give her any more money until I get paid again.  I’ll tell her that when she returns, hopefully not before a week passes.

{6/1/18}  About three days ago [5/29], Jody gave me a letter which she had written on a sheet torn from a spiral-bound notebook.  It reads as follows (I’m trying to copy it exactly, though it’s difficult; I’m tidying up the capitalization but not much else, and I’m omitting the many “sic”s that would ordinarily be required):

“Allan,

“You know, I do not understand why you are treating me like an an old shoe that’s tossed aside.  But let me clue you in on a few things!  I’m not one of your old shoes nor [?] am I anything you need to be tossing off or away!  That’s certainly not the way you are supposed to treat a friend!  I do not know what put you in [illegible] a such a shitty nasty frame of mind about me but you’ve sure got one!  Especially after what you told me about your past!  I have never uttered a word about any of what you told me & I will not.  I’m not the gossip type.  That and I do not want to see you [illegible] the street and get a very poor label stuck on you.  All I wanted was 5 bucks to get a meal and a few [illegible]!  However you’ve chosen to, hang your rep that know one knows about that unless you’ve told them, cause I certainly never have.  (That’s the truth) so maybe you need to gather your thoughts a guilt trip [?] and put them into perspective.  I’m trying very hard to keep what you’ve told me [illegible] don’t looze your composure when it isn’t necessary.  Catching drift?  I love you very much as my friend but it seems like you are trying to push me away & you don’t even have a real decent reason for that either!  What’s up?  I am pretty well stymied about this.  We always got along quite well.  At least I thought we did.  I was not looking for anything more than having a close friend one who can turn to me at any quick moment!  I was always to be there for you!  You can’t be that bad of a person because Bandit my dog [?] is an excellent judge of character.  He growls at anyone who is pretty off in the brain dept. or not a nice person.  So please [?] allow [?] and come in for a landing O.K?  You are a great person Allan but you trying to make yourself out to be a bad person and that’s just not so.  Cut [?] it out!  O.K.  Regroup & try again [illegible].  You’ll be [?] a pretty damn nice man!  O.K.

“I love you my friend, good friends are hard to look in the mirror again you are a super kind of guy.  O.K.?  Bandit like you.  He has never growled at you at all!  O.K.

“Love ya,

“Jody.  XXOOO”

She gave me this a day after I had given her $5.00.  I don’t think I’ve given her anything since, though she has come by every day asking for money, ranging from $10 to $2, and more often than not, more than once a day.  Yesterday I told her that I was short of money and would be until my next “check,” in four weeks.  I hope to tell the full story of our relationship today.

So, that’s the story as of 6/1/18.  I should comment on one point of hers in the letters.  She talks of my “shitty nasty frame of mind,” but she has never heard a harsh word from me, never a word of recrimination.  When she asks for money and I don’t want to give her any, I normally say, “No, sorry,” and close the door.  This is hardly “letting her down easy,” but in fact I want her to stop asking.  I should also mention that I’ve never called her a “friend” that I recall, or possibly I did once in introducing her to X.  Certainly I’ve never considered her a friend; but you don’t tell that to people.

I leave it to the reader to judge me and her.  I won’t speculate on her true situation aside from saying that she seems to me mentally competent and not an addict, except for what is apparently controlled by her methadone.

The title, “Ingratitude,” is intended to refer to her lack of acknowledgement of the $200+ or so that I’ve sent her way since I met her last Thanksgiving.

I welcome comments.

By Alan Carl Nicoll
Copyright 2018 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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