I guess I never thought I'd have to rely upon a homeless shelter to provide me with internet usage. Here I sit, surrounded by vagrants in worn, puffy coats and beards that have certainly not seen a trimmer of any sort in months, if not years. Their heads in the loving embrace of crusty, stained beanies, filthy hair cascading out the back, some times in a pony tail, other times spilling over the shoulders like a polluted waterfall. Others have been short on hair for years, yet what remains is wildly unkempt. A man nearby softly mutters to himself sitting sideways in a chair, legs dangling over the arm, dripping boots leaving dirty brown rivulets of snow melt down the upholstery on the side. The stench of stale sweat comes and goes, undulating with the passage of bundled up men passing to and fro. Many sit or wander expressionless, with faces rendered implacable after years of vagrancy and rejection. Some are gathered in groups, talking about God knows what listless, homeless, possessionless, jobless, and often hopeless men talk about. The depth of the snow. The frigid, pitiless wind. The insatiable hunger of drug or alcohol addiction. Lost family. Disloyal friends. Failed dreams. Perhaps hope.
As a man in a dark blue uniform gently prods a sleeping lump of rumpled coat, informing it that sleeping is forbidden, I remember I am in the Salt Lake City library. Which is sort of synonymous with a homeless shelter. Only with way more books, and strict laws against slumbering.