Kern Sol News’ new segment “Humans of Kern County” aims to share the stories of the people who make up our community. These stories tell readers a little bit about what makes these individuals who they are today. If you or someone you know has a story that would like to be featured in the “Humans of Kern County” segment, submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I had a business going before all this COVID-19 pandemic started and I was doing good; I was making money and I just wasn’t ready for what happened when COVID hit.
Pretty soon this customer and that customer became scared because of the pandemic and I was losing customers. I wasn’t getting paid for the stuff I had, like my equipment, and one thing lead to another and I lost everything…. But I didn’t, not really. Because since I have been out here I learned lessons that I have never even thought about before.
I learned a different perspective and how to look at people and respect everybody. It doesn’t matter who it is. I used to be one of them who went around and honked and made fun and talked crap, but now I look at those guys and think they are so ignorant. They have no idea.
Some of these people look at us and they don’t realize that when we got cans and bottles like this, we are sitting here taking a break. We are busting our butts all day — we do this every day. If we don’t do this, we don’t eat. I work at AM/PM for food at night. I take the trash out, check their lot, and make sure everything is good and they let me have food.
Out here, the conditions are what you make of it. If you find a spot that is out of the way that keeps you off your back for a little while and you keep it clean, you can set up a shelter and it’s sometimes more comfortable than an apartment to go to. I had a friend that was homeless for so long out here that when he finally did get a place he couldn’t sleep in it for like the first four weeks.
People who don’t live on the streets don’t realize how hard it is. How hard it is to sit there with this sign. I remember when I always had money in my pocket. I was making money and I worked my butt off to do it. I still remember that feeling that’s what is going to keep me from getting locked into this.
The hardest thing about living like this is trying to make money. I’ve been sitting here for an hour and a half to two hours and I haven’t made a dime because it is the beginning of the month so everybody is broke right now —— they had to pay their bills.
When people slow down and talk to us, someone at least gives us something to eat instead. But the other day I got this big ole’ blanket because it does get cold at night. When we have extra, we look for the ones that don’t have anything. Because the more you give your blessings away the more you can receive. Those green boxes for clothes that are around here. I have two friends that both crawl inside them at night when it’s cold to sleep in there. But that’s what they need to stay warm.
For us, essential supplies would be sugar because my partner is hyper-glycemic. I never understood what the heck that was until we started living out here together and I have to make sure every day she eats something good and not just junk. Also, food, socks, toiletries, and money for water; I drank from a hose one day and got sick as a dog and I was throwing up.