Introducing Tony

October 23, 2006

Welcome to Tony’s new blog. Tony is homeless.

This blog is — as much as possible — Tony’s, as transcribed by me (Philip). Tony lives in Toronto. Today and in the future, I will annotate (but not change) his words and add my voice when context (narrow or broad) seems to be needed.

I’ve known Tony for about 5 years. I estimate that he’s about 55 yrs old. Tony spends most days coaxing a dime or a quarter or a dollar or a fiver from folks walking by, familiar and not.

From what I can tell, Tony finances his life one meal at a time, plus the cost of a bed for the evening when he can collect enough money. Most mornings, I find him perched on a stack of milk crates, near my favourite coffee shop. Tony’s cap acts as a nest for loose change, and his small cardboard signs attempt to catch your eye and your heart. I see him most days at around 8am when he’s generally “working on” breakfast.

I hadn’t seen Tony for several days. I discover that he was in jail last week. After finding him this morning, I proposed to Tony that we start a blog with him as the prime author. Tony has full editorial control and he can review any posting beforehand if he wishes. Even though Tony had never “set eyes” on the Internet, he proposed that we should “just go ahead”.

Thus, a Homeless Man Speaks.

—–

TONY
“I got locked up last Monday [Oct 16] because I punched the boyfriend of a woman in July [2006] butI forgot my court date [earlier in October] when I had to defend what I did protecting that woman.

“Monday afternoon I was sitting here as usual [near the coffee shop], minding my business and there were a bunch of cops cars driving down the street. It was a like a motorcade. The cops went to an apartment up the street and carried out a baby. The mother [not the woman that Tony had protected in July] had been beaten up by her boyfriend and the cops came and took away their baby. Then one of the cops walked down the street towards me and asked if I was “Tony”. He was just double-checking because he already kind of knew me. The cop gave me a bench warrant since I had forgot my court date and told me to come with him to the police station. I asked the cop if I could lock up my bike first and that was no problem.

“They all know me in the police station and the jail, so they treated me fine and I got food and everything. But I didn’t make bail on Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday. I got out on Friday [Oct 20]. I still got my orange jumpsuit [Tony pulled back his coat to display his eye-catchingly orange jumpsuit underneath]. I can’t pick up my clothes from the jail until tomorrow. But they’re dirty so I’ve got to wash them anyway. I’ve been sleeping behind bush near [an intersection in the neighbourhood]. I’ve got plastic sheets as a sort of a roof but it’s got a few holes. There’s mud and you can’t keep clean.”

—–

PS: Your comments will get to Tony, so feel free to ask questions, etc.

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5 Responses to “Introducing Tony”

  1. /pd Says:

    I am going back to the roots post here…

    Why does Tony think he is “homeless” ? Is not the streets the home for many millions in the world ??

  2. Haricot Says:

    I too am reading post #1 here and would like to offer my perspective regarding the Nov 22 question from /pd. I was brought up in Hong Kong when refugees flooded the colony. Many of them lived on the street and were indeed in fairly bad shape. But the homeless there did not have to worry abt the sub-zero weather that Tony and others like him are facing here. I would suggest the meaning or condition of homelessness differs from one place to another. But the bottom line is stil the same: without a place called home.

  3. isabelydancer00 Says:

    On my break at work, I started reading the article on Tony. I cried on reading the part something to the effect: He wants to educate the children so that they won’t find themselves homeless.

    There are so many reasons people find themselves in unfortunate situations. Some people are not very empathetic, yet you never know what turns you are going to encounter in life.

    I think I found the cool link I’ve been looking for my profile. Hoping 2007 finds everyone well.


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