Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blood: Details, details, details

She was an older woman with a thick mane of gray hair and yes, she'd been here before. The greeter at the counter was talking to her like she was an old friend.

"You said you'd be back."

"And I am," the woman replied cheerily.

She handed over a folded piece of paper, some sort of document. The greeter's brown furrowed as she looked it over.

"We can't take this."

"It's a bank statement," the woman said and the greeter nodded. "You said you needed more identification, like a utility bill or something."

"But this isn't a utility bill," the greeter told her. "We need proof of where you live."

"But I don't get a utility bill," she said and named a motel where she'd been staying for the past seven months.

The greeter shook her head. Apparently, it wasn't a nice motel, not that it mattered.

"We can't take anyone from group living facilities," she said. "Jails, homeless shelters, motels..."
Flop houses. "Anywhere that is prone to disease transmission."

The gray-haired woman grew angry.

"What kind of diseases?"

The greeter sighed.

"HIV, Hepatitis... anything transmitted through fluids."

It was terribly depressing, but explains something I'd noticed at Manna Meal.

There is very little crossover. I see very few of the same people at both places --so far, just one guy --and I'd wondered about that. I figured, if you were homeless, forty-five bucks a week would tend to come in handy. It wouldn't be enough to get you off the streets, but it would be enough to soften the ground a little --one way or another.

They called my name and took me to the back while the old woman pleaded and tried to find a way for them accept her. I thought the woman was going to cry. She was even too poor to sell her blood, not until she got an apartment or a trailer or someplace where she could afford to pay a light bill.

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