Female, Age 40
“tenacity, perplexity, levity,
allocation, dictation, legality”
Daniel Enger: (Interviewer) Good morning, Erin today is October 25, 2021, and we’re here on Ponce in Atlanta my name is Daniel Enger and I have the pleasure of being here today with you Erin thank you so much for taking the time to talk. Looking forward to hearing your story and learning from you. My first question is a really big one namely, could you please tell the story of your life from the time you were a small child up to the present day. And please start by saying your name.
Erin: Good morning, my name is Erin M. it all started with my parents in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was born at St. Mary’s Cathedral, and I was born an auburn haired very cheery baby and they dressed me up like a clown they were great parents. They sort of split up when I was four, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia lived on Mulberry Street where there are real mulberries to eat. And then I drifted out to a MP Sergeant military base camp in Colorado Springs, Lincoln, Nebraska, and my appendix exploded, and they put me back together. Pretty much everything in my body needed to be cleaned I was in the hospital for an entire month. I finished my first grade with Ms. Bear in the hospital in a military hospital and they put me back together and saved my life, I almost died. And then after that marriage kind of fell apart I ended up back up in Atlanta, Georgia where my grandmother lived she used to work for Georgia Power, and she lived on Allgood Road and I went to Allgood Elementary until I passed sort of a test and went to a Magna School for science and math and put together robots and amusement parks with a Atlanta based program called Lego Logo and Carmen San Diego which taught history and taught basically all the computers were Apple and you had to do everything from DOS and everything as I was 8 through 12 years old I pretty much had every piece of literature. Anything that I wanted to do on the internet or with the computer had to be programmed through DOS on an Apple computer, that was a Magnet school and that was at Clifton Elementary. And then later I sort of went to North Gwinnett up, up, up near lake Lanier and it was sort of due to a tragedy, someone got shot in the face near my school and my mom sort of freaked out and moved up with her friend by the Mall of Georgia. And I went to North Gwinnett and graduated with a 3.5 and went to DeVry University at Alpharetta. Alpharetta has Devry University and went for telecommunications management for two and a half years, and then I went to almost graduated but wanted to do a liberal arts side project and I went straight up to Gainesville where there’s Brenau University it was an all-girls school at the time, my mom thought it would be a great idea since I was overworked and underpaid and getting in trouble with a lot of men during my all night school at DeVry University. She recommended a liberal arts school for all girls and that’s Brenau University at least it was before they invited the military next door and now it’s co-ed. So, basically that was my stent in Georgia until I met someone moved to Minneapolis, met someone moved to Mississippi, met someone moved to Dallas but every single time I came back to Atlanta cause that’s where my family was. My mother taught at the Atlanta College of Barn, and she was in a punk rock band, she worked for an events design company, she worked for IBM, she worked on Jurassic Park, and Heretic, and several other video games, at the time IBM sponsored a graphic artist she taught graphic arts at the Atlanta College Park. And my uncle he lived in Marietta with a law firm and real estate agency, and it was putting me in baby steps for a paralegal degree and to pass the Bar, I ran into some trouble when I got into a car accident crash I t boned, I wasn’t driving, it almost killed me it almost killed that lady. And I basically needed several reconstructive back surgeries I got a special stem cell which are great stem cells their remarkable in design but the bracket the screw did not take because my bone was disintegrated because of a medical disease, and I had to get one surgery after the other and had some troubles with other medical devices. And so, that became a lawsuit and the lawsuit failed and I lost my apartment, I lost my car, I lost everything that was in the apartment which was all of my identity. I had to get all government care, so, I went on disability, and I had to get all new stuff. I spent several times going in and out of shelters and couch surfing and basically just losing things on the street to shelter problems or other homeless issues such as facilities not working or nasty people on the street stealing stuff, or attacking you for stuff, so I kinda had stuff and didn’t have stuff. Back and forth for several years it was kind of a stuff conspiracy. So, now I’m here looking for. . . I still have disability, so I have some sort of income, but I basically need a startup. My goal is to get subsidized housing and take the Bar exam and work with technology again since I got those three years of college, I remember everything. I could do side projects I could be on disability for the rest of my life due to a horrible, horrible accident. That’s my life in a nutshell.
Daniel: Erin, of all the things that you’ve accomplished and overcome in your life so far what are you most proud of?
Erin: Well, that’s complicated. I managed to keep a good sense of humor after everything I’ve been through which was a whole lot and I managed to keep the majority of my sanity, not much of my money. But it still comes so I am blessed and grateful for the assistance and the backing that I have had from people who will go unnamed.
Daniel: Erin, you gained a lot of hard-fought wisdom from the experiences in your life so far, if you were invited to share your wisdom with school kids in your community giving them guidance to live healthy, safe, stable, and happy lives what would you tell them?
Erin: Well, I would tell them to remain educated children don’t want to hear that they want to be famous, and they want startup projects that make em look good. You Tube is the thing, Face Book is the thing, basically all they want to know is how are they gonna socially network themselves to stardom, when in reality the only thing that’s gonna keep em alive is a great education. So, I would have to sneak it in there basically I would make it funny, it depends on the age of the kid whether they’re gonna get it or not right away, it’s gotta be visual everything’s gotta be visual for kids. This is what kids look like right now their finger is on their phone and their push buttoning. So, basically, everything registers then that mean they’ve pushed the right button it’s all about which button they want to push the most that’s what sells on the market, and that’s what wakes the kid up to the right education, basically have eat right, and they have to somehow subliminally get mentally knocked up with smarts, that’s the only way I can put it.
Daniel: Erin, I’d like to switch to the present day right now. In ways would you say your life is going well these days? Please talk a little bit about how life is good for you at the present time.
Erin: Well, I manage to surpass and surmount a lot of difficulties when it came to . . . I have some medical issues; I have an allergy a very deadly one and I have a hypoglycemia that sort of gives me a sleeping sickness. Which is very, very scary because if I don’t continue to have food and the right food then I can get deathly sick. Basically, that has been the biggest hurdle that I have ever had and it’s actually a huge one. If I were to say anything to kids, I would wake them up when it comes to being on your phone and driving a car, a car accident will ruin your life, that’s all I have to tell them.
Daniel: In addition to what you just mentioned the fact that you’ve overcome a lot of difficulties in what other ways is life going good for you right now?
Erin: Well, I have a big brain and it still works that’s a blessing, I have some money on reserve I just haven’t invested it properly, and I have a family that still loves me even though I have been through so much that right there is a blessing, and I’m just steps away from passing a Bar Exam, I just need a proper living situation where I can study properly
Daniel: Erin, what led to those things going well for you? How did that happen, who or what has contributed most to your doing well these days?
Erin: My mother was a very, very strong woman she got together with she was an entertainer she got together with several other entertainers and startup groups and started a coalition and basically, I’m still and along with my father and his IT resources and legal resources basically my family has managed to maintain my sanity and provide me with a voice to make sure that I reach the finish line to my life.
Daniel: Now looking ahead Erin when it comes to living a healthy, safe, stable, and happy life what are your hopes and dreams looking ahead?
Erin: Well, I want to start a business, and I want to take some casework, and I have some hobbies that I dabble in. I kind of have a voice it is a whole lot of metaphorical nonsense sometimes but It’s a lot of algorithm and allegory and metaphors that really make a person. And when I have time for hobbies I have an extensive retirement package it’s gonna end up in lovely San Diego on the beach and I’m not sure if disability is going to fund that but I can take my education time isn’t over yet, I can still have a career and still make some money, and still have a retirement package that’s worthy of a white sandy beach, and surfing lessons, with scuba, and dolphin time with Mai tais that’s my retirement package, that’s what I’m looking forward to in retirement. Who isn’t looking forward to retirement on beach front property?
Daniel: Erin, what are some of the personal strengths that you draw on as you pursue those hopes and dreams?
Erin: Well, I was smart to go straight to college when I got out of high school I didn’t screw around and go to a party school and waste my time drinking and doing drugs, I actually went to a night school and left with a 3.5 grade average I was just blessed with continuing education.
Daniel: Erin, what challenges and obstacles do you see standing between you and the realization of your hope and dreams, what holds you back?
Erin: I guess when facilities don’t have proper organization. I mean the airport works just fine I don’t understand why any facility in any city should have any corruption. If the organization of cataloging of information basically if the IT works, then the organization works. So, if there’s an IT problem and knowing my education history in telecommunications it’s a big problem then people can fall into the cracks and disappear.
Daniel: Erin, what needs to be done so that the challenges and obstacles you just mentioned can be overcome and you can realize your personal hopes and dreams?
Erin: Well, when your information goes awry you have to find the right facility and the right person and that can be extremely complicated when that facility isn’t getting the right funding, and not many people volunteer anymore. Philanthropist come maybe in a blue moon so that is the problem how you get funding for that when there’s no entertainment or real estate I guess tourism I don’t know, I really don’t know you have to be entertaining to bring the money and when there’s technical problem in an organization and people are underpaid and understaffed and dissatisfied with their life then everything’s gonna get lost in the file folder system. I’m sure you remember the movie “Bruce Almighty” you saw that scene where Morgan Freeman was pulling out the filing system that goes into infinity into an empty warehouse, you know that right there is the scene of what happens to people’s information, once a person loses their information you need a miracle man to show up and make the moon of once in a blue moon happen. And everything gets big it really is, what it is, it’s not always sunny in Atlanta.
Daniel: Erin, I’d like to shift to the community now please. How would you describe your community? Who are the people that make up your community here in Atlanta?
Erin: Well, their sort of the medical community I’ve had so many medical problems it’s ridiculous, it’s sort of the judicial law and circuits system, because of my families history and some of my paralegal background. A lot of it is what’s left of the entertainment industry in Atlanta and even since I’ve traveled so much sort of outside of Atlanta, and since I was in IT and well some engineering basically, there’s a whole lot of technical revolution still going around my area. And, on top of all that there’s you know I belong to some religious societies and it’s just all of it just enter-turns in I guess in emotion and stick-to-itiveness for my goals.
Daniel: Erin, I just cut given the uniqueness of your response to that question about how you define your community, and just thinking about the community panel that will study these interviews I’m keen to ask if you could please talk about the community from the perspective of the homeless community of Atlanta and to ask for your perspectives. Thank you for your flexibility on that.
Erin: Okay, no problem. I understand that Atlanta sort of has a large homeless issue currently there’s sort of tents, and tent cities, and people under bridges, and Woodruff Park is a huge cleanup project it’s ridiculous. I’m surprised that they get fed every single day, the amount of people that donate food I’m sure it could grow, everyone needs help but the amount of homeless people that I’ve seen just wandering around right next to Georgia State where students go is sort of ridiculous for a city it’s sort of a problem. For the amount of free phones that I’ve seen go out on the streets there’s still a problem where there’s so many homeless people that can’t get a case worker, that can’t get a phone, they can’t seem to find the feeding line the food line, and they get involved with what I assume to be a technologically enhanced Cartel, and they just cook up any kind of pharmaceutical they can get on bulk and throw whatever they can fly in magically into a big baked sheet and pass it out to every homeless person on the street to do a short little cell time. And that is not okay because it’s you don’t know what goes in that product, a lot of em are anxious, a lot of em are hungry, a lot of em are cold, a lot of em are retirees, are even veterans and confused why their information sort of got burn noticed due to a lack of organization. I went to every single facility that was handed to me in the Atlanta area and the majority of them don’t run you can’t do the COVID, you can’t go in, you can’t get a case worker, if you don’t have a phone, it’s almost impossible to talk to someone. There’s no landline phone where you can just go walk to, if you miss the feeding line then you starve that night, your stuff gets stolen because one of the cell time junkies on the street goes nutsy over bad guru then you lose your stuff, and you lose your sanity, and then the homeless shelters are full. There hasn’t been a philanthropist that opened up a new women’s shelter in a long time there’s a whole bunch of empty property that’s just sitting on it, I don’t understand there’s one church after another that actually has housing in it it’s already set up they almost opened one I saw one almost open but then it had some sort of property issue due to the local community next door didn’t want homeless people there. So, what happened was homeless people were moved into the facility they got funding and then the locals said well, we can’t stand them sitting around outside the church and the church was shut down. The homeless people had already moved there so basically what they did was just linger outside the church they were told to go to after it closed. So, the community got homeless people got them into housing, ripped them out of the housing, and realized they weren’t gonna go away because they had no where else to go after they were ripped out of the housing that was set up for em by the local community church and the philanthropist who flew in on his white horse. It was the community next door just a couple of tiny small businesses complained that it just didn’t look good cause so-in-so was outside of the shelter smoking cigarettes, and then the whole thing got shut down.
Daniel: Erin, to the extent that you can, could you tell me please when it comes to living a healthy, safe, stable, and happy life how would you describe the hopes and dreams of the homeless community in Atlanta?
Erin: Well, they need things and the community needs things it’s gonna have to be a compromise, I realize that things are going to have to come in packets if they donate to the homeless. They need the homeless not to trash the ground just put it in a trash can, you get more things if you don’t trash the ground. That’s what’s happening is a lot of homeless people are realizing that their funding is going missing and their angry because none of the facilities give you a case worker and it’s almost impossible to get a phone that doesn’t breaks sometime, or gets stolen or some junky goes woo woo on the guru and all of a sudden your stuff is missing they get angry and they trash the ground and there’s no where for them to go because the community is like who’s gonna clean this up? We have to pay extra to clean this up we’re gonna have to take funding from Fannie Packs and the food packs and put it towards cleaners to come pick up the trash that the homeless just threw on the ground because their disgruntled employees of the city. So, it’s a compromise between the two basically the contractor, and the cleaner, and the financial assistant the secretariate. So, basically, it’s a triangle of 30 degrees of separation would kinda help the issue actually it’s gonna have to start from the bottom and from the top, at the same time for it to work in the middle.
Daniel: Through your interactions with homeless people in Atlanta what would you say are their aspirations, what are they dreaming for?
Erin: Everybody wants a piece of pie in the sky. So, how to make it a … everybody wants an identity and they want to be memorialized when your homeless you get cold, you lose your things, you get in fights, you come close to death, and you miss your family, and your cold, and you realize that nothing was ever what it used to be or should be and how this happened to me I don’t understand I used to be a good person then they start to regret and they start to get regressive in nature and almost childlike not childish, but childlike and feel that they’ll disappear if they’re not memorialized in some sort of way. And half of em are actually veterans and they’re like I served my time I deserve something, and they do and so a memorialization in a lot of peoples eyes is entertainment. And, what Atlanta doesn’t have is tourism right now and no entertainers that come in because there’s kind of a homeless problem and their kinda angry and their kinda trashin shit (sorry my language) it’s gonna have to be a compromise. There’s gonna have to be a compromise from the top and from the bottom at the same time with a middleman that isn’t bias and religious organizations only get so much money and philanthropist do not come in on white horses all the time. They actually come in on dark horses and sort of hide in the back room to see how bad the city really is before they do any investment whatsoever.
Daniel: Erin, again drawing on your experiences or your observations of the homeless community in Atlanta what would you say are some of their strengths that they can draw on as they realize their hopes and dreams?
Erin: Well, they need a recreational room right now the only thing that is sort of really is available in Atlanta is Woodruff Park (laughter) and there’s some ministries, I guess the Mission is one that might sort of be kind of a recreational room. I mean you get internet sort a I don’t know if it’s broken or not there’s so many people that go to the Mission. Their gonna need a voice, and their gonna need an outlet and their gonna need recreation and something to distract them from the highly influential informationally skilled Cartel.
Daniel: Erin, I realize you’ve already answered this next question, but I’d like to see if you have even more ideas. What challenges and obstacles make it harder for people in the homeless community in Atlanta to realize their hopes and dreams and live healthy, safe, stable, and happy lives? What holds members of the homeless community back?
Erin: Getting lost in the paper shuffle and when so-in-so is not satisfied with their authoritative position so-in-so with particular utility skills and a particular utility belt takes out their frustration on whatever they may think is lessor than them and gross on the street and if so-in-so doesn’t get a good paying position with; cause even security needs security sometime. If you’re paying your security at a low rate their going to take other jobs. And those jobs may not be as legal as you think and if there’s a homeless epidemic that’s keeping tourism away from the city you are a prize position if your in security and there’s contractor jobs and all of a sudden homelessness just disappear it’s a mess and it’s real and it’s scary, and you never know who to trust but it’s so; and once they put that uniform on and I come from a military background I actually have some military in my file and once that uniform is on and they have that equipment around their belt you can’t attack them and make it out of the prison system. Even if their bad cops it’s almost impossible once you go in to get you out from a lawyers standpoint, if you don’t have the proof and that’s what’s happening and it’s scary. And, IT the technical Department has to be on top of those security cameras because people get lost in the filing system and people get lost in the cracks between the security cameras.
Daniel: Erin, what needs to be done so that the challenges and obstacles that you just spoke about can be overcome and the people in the homeless community can realize their hopes and dreams and live healthy, safe, stable, and happy lives? What has to be done to overcome the challenges and obstacles you just mentioned?
Erin: Well, there’s gotta be something that sells you need the funding and that’s going to be a political challenge, like I said it’s gotta start from the top and the bottom at the same time. If they’re on the streets you’re not going to get tourism they gotta be in a shelter, and they gotta stop trashin the ground. But, on the flip side philanthropist can’t be too scared to invest in a community due to the lack of small businesses exceling and entertainment industry dying off. Social networking isn’t what it used to be when everybody’s wearing mask and technology is Star Wars right now it’s complicated.
Daniel: Erin, imagine you were a powerful leader a decision maker who could really make things happen, how would you change the system to help the homeless community to realize their hopes and dreams and live healthy, safe, stable, and happy lives? As a powerful leader how would you change the system?
Erin: I’d go with old school Atlanta ways I mean it was a tunneling system the Atlanta railroad during slavery basically things were bad on a reservation or plantation you tunneled your way out and went north, north is freezing right now basically you don’t want to be up north freezing without the funding. So, how you do that is for those who don’t want the homeless to end up with the right funding are going to need to be routed around and it’s a metaphorically tunneling system and that is going to need to be somehow funded with entertainment. And it’s complicated and it’s going to need experienced engineers.
Daniel: Erin, imagine you had a million dollars, and you could spend it to help the homeless community realize their hopes and dreams and live healthy, safe, stable, and happy lives, how exactly would you spend that money?
Erin: I would hire some civil engineering and pull up some roots and some blueprints and see what real estate property is not being used and who currently has a fat pocket, and free time, and how they could advance with that real estate, and with that system, I mean you really have to sell philanthropy. You have to sell how good it looks to help the community these days (pause, yawning) when a retirement package sounds so much better you really have to sell being a good person and what it looks like on your portfolio and that’s hard when a retirement package is so expensive if you have a particular case.
Daniel: Erin, was there anything else that you would like to share?
Erin: I can’t think of it at this time I’m ready to take a nap (laughter).
Daniel: Erin, thank you very much.