September 18, 2012

Last night, I was at the shelter on time, as I have been since I got another bed there.

It was the first night that the woman who had made the phone call to the supervisor that got me restricted for two days was there since I’ve been back.  When I walked in the door, on time, she told me “Be here on time.  Don’t make any phone calls to anyone, there isn’t going to be any of that this time.  (The social worker) says you have to be here on time.”  I said “OK.”

She had ordered two pizzas for the house.

There’s still a homeless woman there of whom I had taken a picture and published a picture from when she had gotten on the bus that I was on and been harassing me.  She hasn’t stopped harassing me, and neither have other of the guests there who have been doing that.  As I said it would, it’s gotten worse because now they know that I can’t say one word about it or I’ll be made to leave. 

That woman in particular got more provoking last night.  First I saw her rub her nose at someone else.  Then she walked toward me and rubbed her nose at me.  She coughed whenever she was around me.  Finally, she walked by me and gave two fake sneezes. I said “Why don’t you knock it off?”  She turned around and yelled “YOU SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH!”

I told her to leave me alone.  She went to the staffperson and said “Lena yelled at me because I sneezed,” which I hadn’t done.  I hadn’t yelled at her; I had said what I’d said sharply but I hadn’t yelled at her when I’d said “Knock it off.”   I may have raised my voice after she screamed “YOU SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH!”  but I don’t know who wouldn’t have done that.

After she talked to the staffperson, the staffperson walked over to me from the other room and told me “If people have to sneeze, they have to sneeze.”  I told her, about the other homeless woman, “She’s been harassing me constantly.  She never stops coughing and sneezing around me, and when she sees me she rubs her nose at me like this,” and I showed her what the woman had been doing.  I said “She’s a jerk.”  The staffperson said “You just had to leave; do you want to be out again?”  I said “No.” 

I tried to avoid the other homeless woman after that.  She walked back into the kitchen after a few minutes, and coughed.  I walked out of the room and waited in the living room until I thought she might be gone.  However, whenever I was in the kitchen again for the rest of the night, she would walk in after me. 

There was some more coughing harassment last night in my room, also.

It is not likely that I’m going to be able to take being abused and not being allowed to say anything about it or object to it in any way.  Once you’re in the shelter at night, you have to stay there; there is a smoke break every hour and you can’t even go outside unless you go out for one of those.  In addition to the fact that I don’t smoke, it’s not as if I could go anywhere if I did go outside for those, and all that would happen is that I’d be around everyone who would have an obvious excuse to cough if she felt like it.


Copyright L. Kochman, September 18, 2012 @ 2:53 p.m.