The trip took all day long. It was five miles into town where I could catch the nearest bus. I got a ride with a nice man, though I am sure he'd be surprised to know that I had one hand on an ice pick the entire time I was in his car. We chatted about my need for a job but inability to afford child care. I didn't mention that my husband could provide it for free if he'd only get off his lazy ass.
Once into town I got the bus to Santa Monica and then called transit to see how to get to Simi Valley. It took several buses with confusing directions, such as "go east on x street" and so on. Did I bring a compass? No! But I made my way through the labyrinth of Los Angeles, constantly alert for my next stop.
I caught the last bus going to Simi Valley. The only way "home" would be to stay on the bus and go right back to L.A., but I needed that check. So I continued on, knowing I would be stranded.
I arrived just before dark and walked the two blocks to Dody's home to pick up my check (and, I thought, my food stamps). Ken's daughter was there, and we had a brief chat about how we all were doing. I tried not to be bitter about getting kicked out, they were under no obligation to keep us there. Obviously this woman needed shelter too.
I didn't ask to spend the night, just walked off into the darkness as if I had someplace to go.
I went to the nearby drugstore/grocerystore complex, I think Albertson's and Thrifty but I can't remember for sure. I got something to eat and drink, and some change, and went to the pay phone. I actually looked at some cheap blankets and thought about sleeping in the bushes all bundled up, but I was afraid. From the pay phone I called the police non-emergency number and explained that I was stranded for the night and didn't have funds for a motel. Could they let me sit in their station. No. (How helpful.)
I called taxis and got estimates for driving back to L.A., which amounted to a small fortune.
Finally I called a friend, A.S. dasi, who reluctantly agreed to drive from Santa Monica to pick me up, and would let me stay with her for the night.
I stayed inside the phone booth, wedging it shut and crouching down to avoid notice, until she arrived.
We talked well into the night and I was so freaked out from my stressful day that she offered me a valium. One might well call the homeless odyssey Tapati's drug tour, as I did more drugs during it than during the rest of my life. (I smoked some of Mahasraya's pot in Portland.)
I took the valium and was finally able to sleep. The next day I went off to Malibu by bus, and walked the entire rest of the five miles from the bus stop to the camp ground.
I remember passing by the mansions, peacocks, and beautiful ocean views. I saw one area overlooking the ocean and walked over to that side of the road and sat down on a large rock. I started crying and praying, exhausted and with no idea how I was going to go on. I had no idea what to do about my situation and how to get my kids what they needed. I remember saying to Krishna, "I know I have bad karma but can you give me a break for awhile before I work the rest of it off? I can't take much more of this!" I cried and cried and cried. Finally I recovered and continued on my way. It was the following day that Mahasraya went into town and that weekend that we ran out of propane and had the big storm that cut off our phones. On Monday I left the tent for good. Perhaps God showed me the way out.