Kevin II: The ReKevining (or, The Cat Came Back).

Actually, the cat never left. It was Kevin who came back, drawn by a cat he could not live without, a cat who lived alone with him on the surface of the sun, a cat who, he sometimes insisted, was the only real being in the universe apart from himself. We know this because he told us, because he yelled it at the paramedics and the cops and the social workers.

What, you think the story ended back here? Kevin came back: god, fire-starter, lost soul, Madonna fan, raving psychotic. Voice in the night; even when we weren’t out there in the rain trying to talk him down, the nights we lay in the dark staring at the ceiling outnumbered those we slept through.

Things have calmed down over the past few days. Finally, Kevin and Blueberry seem to be warm and dry and in no immediate danger. But it’s been— eventful.

I related the front end of the story back on Oct 16. Today, Caitlin brings you up to date over on her blog, with insight and eloquence I can only aspire to. It’s not a comprehensive history, to be sure; she doesn’t mention the time Kevin appeared in our bedroom, for one thing. She downplays her own relentless research into his past in search of some key to his present— the sister she tracked down (a roboticist at Amazon), the acquaintance who pulled away after Kevin started insisting that Madonna was sending him secret messages with her eyes.  The reappearance of Littler Cop, who told us that Kevin was a crackhead and could well be dangerous no matter what we thought. So many individual encounters escape mention. It’s a record of fragments and impressions, and really, that’s the best way to tell this story; looking back, fragments and impressions is how memory serves up the recent past to me as well. Maybe it’s just lack of sleep.

So look upon her works, ye middlers, and despair. But also take hope: the ending of this tale, if not happy, is at least hopeful.

Which is probably why I could never have written it myself.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Monday November 06 2017at 10:11 am , filed under misc . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

11 Responses to “Kevin II: The ReKevining (or, The Cat Came Back).”

  1. You guys are so commendable, and I’d say, after reading Caitlin’s piece,that there are a lot of so-called Christians who wouldn’t go so far as you’ve done. Then again, many of those are professionals or careerist volunteers in the outreach communities, and after a while, after one too many episodes of getting burned, they stop working so hard or letting other peoples’ plights become their own.

    As for the shelters: they are in fact itchy. They are some of the few places in the civilized world that you can find body-lice, which usually only need a few good hot washings of clothes and skin to be eliminated. This doesn’t even begin to cover scabies. Even if those can be avoided, there is the matter of fleas. It’s all bad. Shelters are where you go as the absolute last resort. When some novel plague erupts and kills almost everyone, I honestly believe that it will be tracked back to either homeless shelters or the Russian prison system, which are both atrociously unhealthy with the main difference being that you can walk away from the shelters, unless the weather is too deadly. A lot of people freeze on the streets, even in the Southern US, rather than take a known risk with the shelters. The shelters are also where people go because they’ve got a spanking new case of this year’s influenza, and in the close quarters, it spreads. It spreads fast.

    For those who are more competent than your guest, there are communities where the homeless learn to become tramps, which is to say, they learn to live the traveling life, working with the seasons where the work needs done. For some people, though, any kind of work that isn’t just make-work, will be realistically unattainable. For such there are the shelters. Because of the lice, the influenza and myriad other ills, consigning them to the shelters is consigning them to a life that’s brutish, nasty, and short. Shelters have their own specialized predators. It’s an ecosystem.

    Sometimes if you want to help someone like “Kevin”, all you can do is to try to reform and assist the shelters. Sometimes all it takes is buying a case of insecticide of the sort that actually works (foggers don’t) and getting it applied by professionals or semi-pros. Giving their laundry facilities the once-over and making sure the machinery runs hot enough can do wonders. Fix the shelters first and foremost, and put on the political pressure for the “Housing First” initiatives.

    But for now… all we can do about the people themselves is symptom management, and it’s good to remember that for perhaps a third to one half of cases of schizophrenia and/or delusional disorders, remission is spontaneous and often nearly complete or quite complete. So your efforts are not wasted, not at all. And on behalf of those who cannot think you now, I will thank you for perhaps making it possible for them to come back to their senses many years from now, to overcome the embarassment, and to send you that nice postcard for the holidays.

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  2. Caitlin’s update was wonderful, but comments are closed on her blog, so I need to comment here.

    I think you might try to reach out to his family again. They should know that their son/brother/nephew is in extreme need and have to step in. Kevin’s gotten this far through the extreme kindness of strangers, but it’s not a permanent solution. Someone has to take him in and help manage his illness on a long-term basis.

    Maybe his family is part of the cause of his problems, but without any evidence to that, we have to default to their responsibility. Taking care of a broken human as a result of familial responsibility can be a hard pill for some to swallow – they put on blinders and just hope the problem will go away. I think you and Caitlin need to have some hard conversations with these folks and get someone to see the light. They’re the only realistic hope and need to take charge of this situation.

    Anyway, continued Kudos for your humanity in this situation. When Kevin moves out, I might just move into your ravine because I’d like to have you as a neighbor.

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  3. Thanks for doing this. As somebody who doesn’t have all that many more sets of cracks to fall through myself before ending up outdoors, I appreciate it.

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  4. Another thought has occurred. Is this something you can go to the local news with? There’s always human interest stories featured in daily broadcasts and I wonder if they might step in and shine a light on this larger problem, with the added benefit of getting help for Kevin.

    Granted, I’m not a huge fan of this idea but you need to seek a higher power in this case and the threat of bad press usually gets some results.

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  5. Kevin’s got a case worker now, and he seems to be stably ensconced with Blueberry in the shelter. Fingers crossed.

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  6. Damn.
    You and Caitlin are tough, patient and compassionate. I hope this works out well.

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  7. Hoping for the best here, long-term.

    Re: the Toronto pet-friendly homeless shelter – http://www.fredvictor.org/bethlehem_united_shelter

    Kevin sure likes Madonna. Glad he likes Blueberry Panda more.

    Twitter @ digitaldeath

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  8. As a self-professed misanthrope and ultra-pessimist, you should be ashamed of yourself, Watts.

    Anyone would think you were an incredibly decent human ‘bean’ with a heart and a conscience.

    Come, come.

    There is a reputation to uphold here.

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  9. You give me so little credit, Gary.

    By helping out, I build trust, and increase the odds that the beneficiary of our good works returns to us once the shelter has fattened him up. Then, once society collapses, we have a ready source of cheap protein.

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  10. Your efforts (and also Kevin’s) brought back a fond memory:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1996/05/i-dont-talk-service-no-more/308355/

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  11. It always scares me how easily and quickly you can fall from a normal, regular, by all accounts succesful life into madness and homelessness. Living in a town with some well-known mentally maladjusted people, i always wonder when and where their life took the wrong turn, and if it could happen to me too.

    Props to you and your wife for your compassion..i know i could not have done it. The world would be a better place with more people like you.

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