11/19/12: Alarm clock

by thiswinteralso

November 19, 2012

I’ve been staying at the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter. It’s staffed by Harvard students.

Last night, I woke up because a homeless man had walked into the women’s dorm, closed the door and sat on my bed. I woke up when he sat on my bed.

It probably wasn’t random that he chose my bed; there’s a diagram on the door of the women’s dorm that shows a bed in each corner of the room with the first initial of the first name of each woman in each bed.

I don’t think that it would have happened if the conglomerate weren’t waging war on women and personally persecuting me.

I jumped up as soon as I realized that he was there and he leaped up as soon as I moved. I said, at a decibel level that I would describe as a medium-yell, “Don’t EVER sit on my bed again! What are you doing in here?”

He yelled “I thought it was my room!”

That was a lie. Unfortunately, the men’s dorm doesn’t have doors; it has curtains, so it’s not really separated from the main part of the shelter, which is one big room. There’s a temporary partition between the men’s dorm and the women’s dorm. The women’s dorm has a real wall in front and a door. There are also only 4 beds for the women, and 20 for men.

He was between me and the door. The door opened and student volunteers were outside the room.

He continued to say “I thought it was my room,” and I said “Oh yeah? When was the last time that the men’s dorm had a door?”

The student volunteers made him leave the room. One of them, who was managing the shelter for the night, apologized for the fact that the man had gone into the women’s bedroom and sat on my bed. I thanked him and then asked him for the name of the homeless man. He said that he would let me know in the morning.

When I went back into the women’s dorm, I heard more yelling; the homeless man was yelling “Get the f— out of my face and give me my stuff!”

This morning, I got up an hour before we have to so that I could charge my phone and camera. One of the two student volunteers whom I had seen last night walked over to me; before he got to me, he gave a loud cough. Then he told me that the man who had gone into the women’s dorm last night has been barred for two weeks.

The student volunteer who was managing the shelter last night was also here this morning. I asked him for the name of the homeless man. He said “He’s been barred for 2 weeks.” I said “OK, but he’s still out there, and if something else happens then it would be helpful to have his name.”

He said “Just between you and me,” and seemed to be about to give me the man’s name. I gave him my pen and notebook so that he could write it down. When he gave them back to me, he’d written the man’s first name.

I said “What’s his last name?”

He said “I think it would be a breach of confidentiality to give you his last name.”

I said “Aren’t the first and last names of all of the guests written on the sign-in sheet in the notebook that everyone has to sign when they get here each night? Also; doesn’t the diagram on the door of the women’s dorm show each bed and the first initial of the first name of each woman, showing who has each bed?”

He didn’t say “No” to those questions.

I said “That guy is still out there. If something else happens, it would be helpful to have his name so that I can tell the police who it is. Also, he might blame me for the fact that he was barred for 2 weeks, and it would be helpful to have his name if he tries to make things difficult for me at another shelter.”

Then I said, “You’re a volunteer, right?”


“You don’t get paid to work here?”


I said “I realize that you’re doing the best that you can with your understanding of the situation. Between you and me, I’m not that worried about that guy; I doubt that he’s going to try something again. However, it would have been helpful to have his name.”

I’m still getting coughed at by some of the other guests; that happened this morning, too. Some of the student volunteers have exhibited some of that behavior since I’ve been staying here.

I was surprised, though, at still being coughed at this morning by one of the volunteers who had seen that the homeless man was in the women’s dorm last night. I was also disappointed that the person who was managing the shelter last night didn’t follow through on giving me the man’s name; it was the only thing that I’d asked him to do about what happened.


Copyright L. Kochman, November 19, 2012 @ 7:26 a.m.