This Butt's For You
If you are reading this paper close to the beginning of the month, and if you've been paying attention, you may know that Seattle is about to choose a new mayor.
I myself discovered this fact just last week. Here's how it came to my attention: I was just minding my own business, using the computer to make joke pictures of Tim Harris, our Director. With my back thus turned, he and our production manager were discussing who the Real Change ought to endorse for mayor. They were both certain that there was no way we could endorse either of the two official candidates, so that we would have to endorse a write-in.
Who should we pick? Well, lets see, they thought, who's not here? Why, Dr. Wes can do it! Dr. Wes will do anything! And the next time they spoke to me they said I'd have about 600 words for that wire service article and oh, by the way, we'll be running you for mayor hope you don't mind. Mayor of what? - I asked, naturally. Of Seattle, they said.
Now I am told that this means I have to have a platform. We're sure you'll come up with something, they say. OK, well then here is my platform. These are my solemn promises to you, the Seattle citizen, should I be elected mayor.
- If you have a complaint I will actually meet with you and hear it, once or twice. Maybe. If I feel like it. Lately I've had a cold.
- I will cash my paychecks promptly and without complaint.
- I will not maintain a house in a foreign country. Or, if I do, I will not spend much time there.
- I will create a photocopy of my butt on Mayor's office stationary and send it to the City Attorney's office, and I will include an attachment to the effect that it is the view of the new mayor that the City Attorney's face is not a sidewalk.
- Just for a hoot, I will propose laws designed to restrict the hours that homeful people can be on downtown streets. When people object, I will say, "Well, they have homes to go to, don't they? So why should we have to look at them?" When people still object I will laugh insanely and lock myself in my office for days.
- When downtown businesses offer money to get their way with City Hall, I will politely decline it, reminding them that the City's policies are to be determined by its citizens at large and are not on an auction block.
- Inauguration day: beer and pizzas!
My slogan: "Let the vegetarians feed first. Then, while they're at it, we'll move in!"
Speaking of movement, Operation Nightwatch, the Seattle King County Coalition for the Homeless and friends got out at 3a.m. on the 24th for their annual count of Seattle's homeless.
As it is every year, this year's count is certain to be extremely conservative. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I know that the count is important and supplies a lot of useful information. For example, say I want to camp in the Pioneer Square area. Consulting the tables I find that 77 of the 108 street people found there on the night of the 24th were either in public parks or under roads or bridges. Not one was found in a parking garage. So for a quiet restful night's sleep, I should head for a parking garage, that's where the privacy is.
But, seriously, I won't be sleeping in Pioneer Square at all, because I don't want to be anywhere that I can be so easily spotted. By Operation Nightwatch, by the police, by thieves, or by anyone else.
When I have slept outdoors, I have always done so outside of the areas that are included in the count, because those areas get too much traffic. I have made myself as invisible as possible. So invisible that I don't believe I could ever have been found by anyone who failed to trip over me. And that's the way most of the homeless people I know go about it.
And all it takes to get out of sight is alertness, some sense, and some walking.
Seattle Bed Hunt, Recalled
The birds speak to my heart and veins,
Their songs lead the way.
I make the night friend, darkness hides me.
And as I walk on I blend with the Earth
To bed on her clover, grass, and vines.
© Dr. Wes Browning: firstname.lastname@example.org
2129 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98121 (206) 441-3247
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The Great Speckled Bird Columns on Homelessness