When I think of numbers as a person who is without home the only thing that comes to mind is time and money. Time constitutes the amount of time it takes for a person to do something and how much time that person will have to wait for a response for whatever it is that they did. Money is obvious, you make it you spend it and you try to save as much of it as you can. Let’s talk about this time thing first.
Time to a homeless person has two speeds slow and Indy 500, there is no in-between. When you have to wait it’s the worst, I recently had to wait 7 months to get into a homeless shelter. The wait for something that will change your life seems never ending and because it will change your life, the wait seems that much longer. When you wait on a list for a place there is no telling how fast that place is going to move, so you have to contact them in 1 to 3 month increments to find where you are on the waiting list. When I first contacted the place and was told I was number 35, it was the middle of winter and I was thinking “how am I going to survive this?” I was riding buses to stay warm and sleeping in overnight shelters. I had to learn to focus my attention on anything other than what I was waiting for because I would go crazy if I thought about what may be waiting for me after my struggle. Just when I was about to give up on the place, I was told that I was number 1 on the list and they had a bed for me. I suppose I learned patience as well with the lesson of time. I’ve learned that anything that is worth anything to me takes time and patience and I just have to let my mind do what it will do till the day that I get/don’t get what I want.
Money is another thing that makes me think of numbers. When you’re homeless it seems that you can never have enough. Because I have no lockers in the place that I live, it means that I have to shop much more often for the things that I need. There is value in having a place to store your things, since I don’t have that simple things like tampons and toothpaste need to be purchased on a regular basis, the trick to this is not to impulse shop, get what you need and get out. This is easier said than done, when you live in a shelter there are always things that you need so you end up second guessing everything you do and ultimately you end up doing a lot of impulse shopping. I meant to get a toothpaste travel kit but decided that I needed the hairspray and brush. The other problem is where do you put all of the stuff that you just bought. That takes another purchase, can you see how never-ending this is?
Numbers of days, numbers in money, numbers of stuff that has to be bought, numbers are everywhere but I only think of it when it comes to time and money.