Hi everyone! I’m happy to share with you a new style of blogs! I’ve added a section for interviews I’ll be having with people struggling with various situations and/or mental illnesses. I strongly believe in the power of sharing our stories and want to create a safe place to store as many as possible! Not only can it be cathartic for the person, it’s also an insight into another persons’ reality and can be an inspiration to us all. Whether you want to be interviewed anonymously or linked to your own work/projects/etc., I’m all ears! Send me an email at email@example.com or private message me on Instagram.
My first published guest is Richard Watson who has a reality YouTube channel under the name FurryFace. (Raccoon profile pic)
Subscribe to his channel to experience a glimpse of his unique life!
What brought you to the Crisis Centre?
It started with a fire in my apartment. I was gone at the time… not sure if it was the coffee or stove or the toaster or something. I came home to heavy smoke and I couldn’t see anything. I had to walk through the smoke to open the balcony door and put a fan on. Then I sat on the steps while the alarm went off. Next thing the firetrucks, police and an ambulance turned up. The ambulance wanted to take me to the hospital but I refused…there was nothing wrong wth me. My emotions were blank and I couldn’t believe what was happening. After everything I went back in to sleep because I couldn’t stay out on the street. The superintendent spoke with me the next day and they kicked me out…said they were afraid of loose wiring. I had to leave for health reasons but she doesn’t want me to go back. They changed the locks so fast. I’m a chain smoker and with my asthma I can’t repaint the walls from all the cigarette smoke. The Red Cross came and gave me 104 dollars though and put me up in the Holiday Inn for two days. I had no place to go so I called the Crisis Centre. The guy I spoke to assured me they could help me here so I left the Holiday Inn by taxi. I was relieved to have a room because it meant I wouldn’t be on the street.
How do you feel right now?
I’m still very worried and stressed over the situation but I’ve got to control my stress for my health and I’ve got to get on with it. I’ve been in that apartment for 23 years and now I’m homeless. It feels so weird but I’m living comfortably here. They’re helping me find places to look at. A lot are 800 or 900 bucks and I’m not rich you know. Rent will take up almost all my Welfare checks. It’s very hard. Apartments are tremendously overpriced and I’m used to prices 20 years ago. Most places are too expensive or too far or not close to anything walking distance.
I get out of breath really quickly and it’s hard to walk to look for places. The other day I could barely press the button to come in here and I couldn’t catch my breath even with my asthma pump. I’m happy for the efficiency of the fire department because they gave me oxygen. I felt better and they gave me more oxygen in the ambulance. I got to the hospital at 10:30 p.m. and got seen at 4:30 a.m. I didn’t have to pay for the ambulance thankfully. They though I had COVID with my coughing so they made me sit further away alone. Finally I saw the doctor and he said how can I help you? I had to tell him everything which is funny because didn’t he read my chart? Anyway they gave me cortisone by IV and a new prescription of prednisone and that’s why I’m not feeling as bad today.
I also just trimmed my hair myself so that I’ll look better for apartment interviews. Presentation is very important. My sister has a place but her husband doesn’t like me so they don’t want me to stay in the room they use for storage. They don’t have enough space for me. Sure yeah that’s why. So I’m on my own you know. You find out who your friends are when you’re homeless. It sucks to say but it’s true. At least my old landlord said she’d be a reference for me which is good because I have more animal friends than people friends.
You were telling me about your YouTube channel. How is that? What do you talk about?
My channel is me talking about things…my life, what I find foraging. I call it foraging because it sounds better than going through trash. I bitch a lot and seem pissed off cause I am but people find me funny. Humour helps a lot to deal with everything. The people who follow me are in similar situations you know. It’s relatable, they have shit going on too. I like it when people comment back on my videos. Sometimes places won’t let people comment but that’s stupid because what’s the point if you can’t hear feedback?
People seem to take acting lessons to be dramatic on camera. They’re moving their arms around everywhere like this and making sure to pronounce everything perfectly. Like that’ll get them more subscribers. Just be natural… it’s ridiculous. I just talk. I’m being me and I do show and tell. I complain about dating sites that won’t let you leave and stuff like that but also how I have hope in humanity seeing places like this. Hope that people can be kind and caring. People are all out for the almighty dollar these days, that’s all they care about. I miss making videos and talking to people on the sites I go on. Some of them are going to pool some money for me because of what happened. They understand, they’re in similar situations.
What’s it like to forage? What do you do?
What I find foraging I open at home to show people on my YouTube channel. I lived on Gouin and you need a car to live there really. It’s 1 km to the convenience store which isn’t so convenient because my legs ache after a quarter so I have to sit on benches. I get out of breath really quickly. I collect cans and cash them in at IGA. I only pick up stuff that’s useful and my apartment was usually clean… I’m not a hoarder.
Sandwiches I don’t usually take and beverages and old meat too. I grab bread to feed the birds often though because I care a lot about animals. If I have some nuts I feed squirrels sometimes. They’ve all gotta eat too. Drugs I don’t touch unless they’re helpful for me like Aspirin or Tylenol or vitamins or something. I don’t take anything if I don’t know what it is. Sometimes I find detergent and other useful stuff. One time it was dark and I though I’d found potatoes but when I got back they were actually lemons. There are funny surprises like that.
It’s a lot of work to carry everything and I made a pick up stick to make getting things out of bins more easy. I’m getting older. Sometimes I forget how old I am when seeing women these days and then I remember. What I don’t like is how God makes us get old and fall apart. Why do we have to suffer and experience pain? Why can’t it just be like a light switch when our time’s done?
How is it like with strangers?
Mostly people mind their own business when I forage but one time a woman in a car gave me $40. That was pretty cool. The odd person gives me 5 bucks. Someone gave me oranges once and I found that strange. I don’t know if they thought I needed Vitamin C or something. Another time a guy told me to meet him somewhere and he was going to give me a lot of cans. It was Winter and I walked all the way there but he never showed up.
A woman gave me a gift card for Walmart and said there was $50 left on it so I shopped for what I though was worth that. The card fell under the conveyer belt and we had to get to it. I go to pay but the cashier tells me I have to activate the card. Activate it how? You have to put money on it! There was nothing. I’m sort of glad that happened because it would’ve been hard to carry the bags back. I don’t accept those cards now. People don’t seem to give cash much anymore but not everybody is rich either though. So I have to take some things with a grain of salt. Most people don’t care and just ignore me. I had to beg a bus driver to let me on once. I don’t like begging though. My conscience won’t let me panhandle so it’s difficult for me to ask people for stuff. Some panhandlers don’t care and they just want any money they can get.
Once there was a barber shop with a sand bowl to put out cigarettes. I roll my own from butts sometimes so I went to take a handful but a guy came out and gave me shit. He said he’d told me before not to do that but it wasn’t me. I never did it before but that sucks cause it ruined a potentially good spot for me.
A guy beat me up once for ‘dirtying’ his recycling bin. That guy is a moron. Maybe he was upset about something else that day and I was a way for him to let it out. I was also robbed at my apartment once by someone I knew. He attacked me and stole money from my dresser. He still came back to ask for cigarette butts … I don’t know what’s wrong with him. I cut people off when they become assholes like that. Sometimes it’s safer that way even though I lost a contact that helped me with other things.
You spoke to me about being close to God. What are your thoughts?
I was 7 when God spoke to me. It was a bright sunny day not a cloud in the sky and there was a friend with me. I heard my name coming from everywhere. His voice sounded so powerful, old and wise. In the sky where the sun should have been but wasn’t I saw two birds of prey fighting each other ferociously. Feathers flying. One was silver one was gold and then they disappeared. I turned to my friend but he didn’t see anything so I said never mind.
A few years ago 4 or 5 Jehovah witnesses knocked on my door and when i told them my story they didn’t want to believe God spoke to me but He did. They thought my story was bullshit and God “wasn’t like that”. Who are they to tell me? I don’t even think God has a name and I’m ok with that. He said in the bible “I am who I am” to Moses. And you know whether you’re bisexual, transsexual, lesbian or anything else He doesn’t care about that stuff like people do. You’re not gonna go to Hell. He has unconditional love and that makes him so incredible.
Does thinking about God / believing in God help you?
What helps is thinking he’s maybe doing something up there but it’s a mystery and sometimes I wonder if he is or isn’t. I don’t have the answers though but that’s ok. I’m very spiritual but I’m not very religious. I don’t go to church … I talk to him like I’m talking to you. I do it in my own way. I’m a common sense guy though. I find that not very common in todays’ society. That and people caring about others. They only care about themselves. It’s understandable but sometimes it’s ridiculous. The people here care though so that’s good to see.