Monday, December 3, 2007

Street Stories NYC

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2007 at 11:45 AM

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It's Monday morning, which means it's time for Street Stories NYC, in which contributor Jessica Hall interviews the homeless and street people she meets in the city. This week she spoke with Gigi.

I met Gigi while she was panhandling in front of Key Food on Ave A and 4th Street in the East Village. She's an incredibly sweet woman, and was very excited about our interview. We went next door to the Bagel Zone, where I knew the very nice owners would be hospitable to us. Sure enough, after we ate they gladly gave her bills for her cup of change.

How old are you?

Forty-eight, but I know I look much older. That's OK, because I'm that much closer to the other side.

Why do you have stitches on your head?

I have water on the brain, but I call it a tumor ‘cause it's the same damn thing to me.

My story you're not going to believe in your entire life and I am going to tell you the truth, which I've never told anyone before. I have a 22-inch scar on my arm. I tell people it was a car accident. (She pulled up her shirtsleeve to reveal a long, thick scar that ran on the inside of her arm from her wrist past her elbow.)

You should take a picture of it. I did this to myself. I'll tell you why. I was 18 on the typewriter, typing my own stuff ‘cause I write, and the room went white, and in the white I saw the Revolutionary War and there were red coats and colonial men fighting, and the two men who met were brothers. One was English and one was American. I got so scared when I saw this that I ran from the typewriter and my sister said I was white as a ghost.

I remember being 2 and looking in the mirror and seeing a little girl and saying, "that can't be me." And I thought if I can hold my hand up and pinch my cheek, then that's me, and I held up my hand and I saw it in the mirror and I screamed, "Not again! Not again! That can't be me!" But I couldn't get the words out. And when I could speak I said, "Why did you bring me here, Mama?!"

I remember the light, this beautiful warm light that we come from, it would embrace me, and I started telling peoples' futures. I started to get things from people; this one's cheating, that one's controlling, and I couldn't turn it off.

I wanted to get back to the light again, so I asked my friend how I could kill myself the best and least painful way, and he said the Romans would get a razor blade and get into a warm bath, but don't cut it this way (across the wrist) cut it that way (up the arm).

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Your friend told you this?

Oh, he was a very good friend. I told him I just wanted to know. He didn't realize what I was going to do. I couldn't tell him of course.

How old were you then?

When I did this I was 23. All that time between 18 and 23 I was reading people. I found people, missing people. If I see a missing person on TV I know ‘that girl is in a lake.' I know. If you give me a map I can tell on the map where something is.

The age-old question about money, who invented money? Well, I know the answer. The first caveman who took a rock and said, "Here." Money is for when you wanna know what you're gonna get cause you did something for somebody? It's wrong, you see? That's bad.

I was dead on the table. I had to have 6 pints of blood. That's how I got AIDS.

When I was little my father made our lives a living hell. He was a very violent man. Christmas was always a horror. I saw him pick my mother up by the scruff of her neck and throw her against the wall. You don't know what my mother went through. If I could I'd take her place. She had a degree in English literature. She loved to read. We'd say, "Mommy, would you play with us?" and she'd say, "After this chapter." It was always, "After this chapter." Me and my sisters used to recite with her.

Who is your favorite author?

Longfellow. (she recites)
"I shot an Arrow into the air
It fell to earth I know not where,
For so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breath'd a Song into the air
It fell to earth, I know not where.
For who has sight so keen and strong
That it can follow the flight of a song?

Long, long afterward in an oak
I found the Arrow still unbroke;
And the Song from the beginning to end
I found again in the heart of a friend."

That's beautiful.

Yes. I love Longfellow. Me and my sister, we were like bread and butter. I used to get into the bed first to warm it up, ‘cause I was chubby and she was like a reed. She raises horses in Albuquerque now. My other sister is a billionaire. She's filthy rich. When she looks at me everything we went through, that rolling hell, comes back to her and she doesn't like to see me now.

Why are we here if we have to suffer?

Oh, we suffer to learn. We're supposed to learn how to forgive and do good things. Us doing good things, the light grows, and when we die we go into it and it gets bigger and bigger. But you can't get to it by killing yourself.

I'm supposed to spread the fact that the creator is everything there's one entity, it's large, large, large and it looks like a light and when you go into this light it's the best thing in your entire life. It's like I love you a million times, it's like a million hugs simultaneously.

Did you ever see the scene from the Revolutionary War again?

Oh, yes, absolutely. Those 2 men were talking and when they looked at each other they realized they were brothers. Talk about channeling, I see people all the time. If I could get you in a room alone I could read you from top to bottom. I want to do that on TV. Maybe you can help me? Will you be my agent?

I'm not an agent.

I was seeing things about Montel and Oprah. I look at the screen and I can tell what's going on with them, but I have no way to reach them.

Where do you live?

I'm staying at this friend's house and every day I gotta give him at least $10. He says.

How much do you make in a day?

I want to work, but I'm too old. I don't have enough of everything that they want. It depends, on a good day I'll make $40. I can't come out all the time. This AIDS is ravaging my body.

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