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A Day In The Life... So Who You Callin' A "Bum"?!

By       Message James Armstrong II     Permalink

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There are a few people out there who believe I do nothing all day and night long.  They believe I am a "bum"... okay, that's fine.  I don't live by other people's definitions of me because I am a writer and I control the content of words, not them. 

So, I will lay it out here.  My itinerary for every single day of the week.  And these times are average.  Sometimes I get up at 5:00AM and scratch my genitals.  It all depends on what time I go to bed the night before and whether or not I was having too much fun with my friends.

Monday - Friday

6:00AM: I scratch my genitals... and am slowly beginning to wake up.

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6:30AM: I roll out and put all my sh*t away.

6:45AM: I head to Peet's Coffee in downtown Berkeley and have my coffee, read, write about sh*t going on in the "news" and elsewhere, brush my teeth, take a sh*t... and go.

7:30AM: I leave Peet's Coffee and head to a friend's place, where I stow my gear.  Lately, though... there has been a couple Sharks hanging around me as I perform this activity... I find them amusing and not all that intelligent and find them boring.  After a twenty-minute meditation I head back to downtown Berkeley.

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7:50AM: I hang out on the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Allston, also known to everyone who is anyone as: "Philosophy Flat."  I admire the beautiful women of Berkeley as they glide past me with so much grace my left-nut shifts to the right-side of my Levi's.  During this time I also talk to various street kids, Veterans of Foreign War, and "other people" about their previous nights, to make sure their rights were not violated.  Sometimes I find out that indeed they were indeed harassed by police in some way or fashion.  And usually, it had something to do with "trespassing," when there was not trespassing.  They were all instances of sitting on the PUBLIC SIDEWALK.  But that's okay... that's what Osha Neumann and the East Bay Community Law Center if for... they are gathering, as am I and my organization, detailed information of tickets and arrests and just who is being targeted and why.

8:30AM: Berkeley City College Library.  I write there for two hours. 

10:30AM: I go back outside to Philosophy Flat... I walk from there to the Public Library where I get a time, for more writing... go back outside, walk down to Center street and Constitution Plaza where I talk to street kids and watch as one of the employees of AT&T stands and spies at these kids while they are hanging out in a "public park," designated by the city as such, mind you.  Why is there a Corporate prostitute watching people in the PUBLIC SPACE... in a PUBLIC PARK ('Constitution' Plaza)?  Again, I find it ironic that the two largest buildings in downtown Berkeley are Banks... as they loom over Constitution Plaza... trying to push their (Corporate) weight around.

11:00AM: I go on the computer for an hour and create more stuff.

12:00PM: I come out of the library and cruise around downtown, looking for more folks down on their luck, seeing if I can help them in some way.  Sometimes I can, sometimes I cannot.  But each time, I try. 

1:00PM: On Mondays and Wednesdays I have a class for one hour.

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2:00PM: Philosophy Flat, once again.  I meet up with one of Our Benefactors and we discuss options and future ventures.

2:30PM: I make another appointment with the computers at the Public Library.  I use the Berkeley Public Library in conjunction with the Berkeley City College Library because sometimes the school library is busy, and if I am not writing anything school-related, I don't want to use a spot when another kid may need it for class.

3:00PM: I write for an hour.

4:00PM: Tuesdays and Thursdays I have a two-hour class.

6:00PM: I read for a half hour in the 5th Floor Student Lounge at Berkeley City College.

6:30PM: I discuss politics, the constitution, and other things related to my fight with my friend Luis.

8:00PM: I usually head to Wiki Wiki Hawaiian BBQ where I scarf down a burger and fries for... $4.12, out the freaking door...?!

8:30PM: I take one more stroll up and down the Avenue... talking with friends and getting tomorrow's story lined up.  Usually, by this time, there are a few more things to complain about the following day.  The city of Berkeley talks one way and does something exactly the opposite, almost every single time out.  I'm not talking about the Citizens, per se... but the city council, through these business a**holes who think they own the public space, who push the police chief, who pushes his police to do certain things or ignores certain things... or, whatever.  Intimidation goes on where that is concerned... I have seen and heard it.  When they do not believe anyone is around to hear them, sometimes the police will attempt to trick someone they deem intellectually inferior into saying something they shouldn't say.  But when they see people who are in full faculty of themselves and are reasonably intelligent, and knows not only their rights but the rights of others, they stop what they were going to do.  I have seen this.  And no amount of bullshit they try and do to me or my friends is going to change this fact.  So, keep it up.  I will keep writing about all of it.  And if you are thinking about coming after me... let me remind you that I am a LOUD VOICE and Political Assassination is what that will be.  Even if that was not your intent... perception is the reality of our existences.

9:00PM: I walk to my friend's house, meditate for about twenty minutes, grab my gear, and head for my day's final resting place.

10:00PM: I lay out my sh*t.

10:20PM: I go to sleep, and not very well, either. 

Saturday and Sundays: I sleep in an extra hour, on average, because I can, and Peet's Coffee opens at 6:30AM on Saturdays and 7:30AM on Sundays... so there's no big hurry getting up on those two days.

Oh, and I do have a three-hour class on Saturdays, late in the afternoon.  Otherwise, that schedule is pretty much the same, every single day.

Now... does that sound to you like I am a "bum"?  Does that sound to you like I "do nothing all day long!"?  Um... because my back and knees say otherwise.  I walk around ten-to-fifteen miles, every single day.  Some of it with a fifty-pound pack and ten-pound leather book satchel.  I had two of them, but one of them got stolen while I slept... but they got the wrong bag.  They got the bag with out the writing in it.  That is what they wanted, after all.  They wanted to know things... they wanted to know what I know and who I know... but, again, they got the wrong bag... or, "briefcase"?


-James Richard Armstrong II


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I'm a homeless student, writer, and activist... currently panhandling my way through school (and life.).

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