Living on the Hustle During COVID-19

We, in the state of Oklahoma are not on lock-down. We had our time, like everyone else. Yet, we strive and fight each day to keep Oklahoma functioning. We do this to keep our states economy afloat. We are not unlike any other place.

Particularly, however, there is Tulsa, Oklahoma. Also known as T-town. T-town is my only direct observance of the pandemic. Of course, it is because I live in Tulsa, T-town. I watch the news, including local news. I watch with the same observance as I do regarding everything around me.

It is important to observe and keep aware of your surroundings, in my opinion. Especially, during COVID-19. There is the need to be aware of when to move and which direction to move in. It helps to pay attention. It helps us to keep that safe distance. It helps us pick and choose association, and whether or not to allow any association.

In all of this observance, I began to notice people in particular. I began to understand who they might be. What that means is there are people who work, and there are people that do not work. That does not sum it up, of course. Basically, these are the two broad types.

Within one of these two broad types of people, the nonworking. Due to mental illness or some other disability these particular people are a portion of the nonworking. The hustlers. It is true. A lot of people have a hustle. You might say my blogging is my hustle. Yet, honest tax paying hustling is not what I am talking about.

It is known that the average person that receive disability payments for mental illness receive about $800.00 per month. The National Alliance on Mental Health stated on their website that, “In 2015, the federal payment was $733/month for an individual and $1,100/month for a couple.” With that they might receive food stamps. These are the unfortunate hustlers that I am talking about.

Understand, this is just my observance. I can’t say this is everywhere, but I do assume it is. Just know that this is just my observance. To me, this is a great hindrance in our fight to decrease the spread of the Coronavirus. So, I will describe what I see.

As an apartment renter, I see the dumpsters being dug into. There is trash being rummaged for any knick-knack or token that can be salvaged and resold. It is not known who threw away what or whether or not they are sick with anything contagious. It is just understood that it is trash and it is dirty. Especially, during the Coronavirus.

I see this trash being taken into other apartments. Often, these other apartments are not where the individual or individuals live. They have decided to knock on a door and someone blindly lets them in. Usually, they are allowed entry without a mask.

I see junk trading from one individual to another. Assuming trading or selling what was formerly trash from some place or another. Later, that same trash might be seen at someone else’s apartment on the ground or a patio.

I see direct contact. One person (who dug into the trash) touching another person, and even coming in contact with children. This is eye witnessed often. I would say, about 5 times per week. I observe this. I am just one person. I am watering plants on my patio, or giving them a good pruning. I am going to my mailbox, or to my car to go take care of essential business.

I see piles of people climbing into automobiles. Not any of these people are wearing a face mask. It is still summer. The windows are rolled up. They are driving off into a hot summer sunset with heat indices of 107 degrees Fahrenheit. Albeit air conditioning. They are still virtually piled in a car breathing the same air, and without face masks. Not that a face mask would help in such closed conditions.

Yes! These are the hustler people. Every day this is their activity.

I live in a 600 square feet apartment. There are none here that are much bigger. I see 5 to ten people entering such a tiny space, and with no face mask. They spend the day coming and going. The leave out being one or two. They return being three or four.

I see an elderly man, but an able bodied elderly man. I see him going from apartment door to apartment door. He knocks to bum cigarettes. He knocks on the doors of the hustlers. He does not where a face mask, and he often smells of urine. He comes in direct contact with others all day. He likes to sit on his patio smoking and drinking with his hands in his lap. When I see his hands in his lap, I think his hands are in urine.

When he knocks on my door, I do not answer. It would be a great risk to answer the door. He is the very realization that I should never answer my door for anyone without a face mask.

On a good note, these people are being removed. They have been evicted on the grounds of widespread property damage. That is no lie. That does not cancel the fact that they are very unsafe people to have to live around, and especially, during a pandemic.

The most important thing that I did observe is that they are disabled. They are “working” as best as they can to supplement a very low income. I believe they feel like there is nothing else they can do, but dig in trash dumpsters and barter from person to person for a little extra than about $800.00 per month. I believe that it is even possible that they would not partake in such activity, if they had more money to live off of. After all, the elderly guy doesn’t knock if he has a pack of cigarettes!