My name is Stephan Lewis. In 1998 I was involved in a work related accident that cost me my home, fiancee, career, physical health and almost my life.
In 1998 I was a career musical equipment tech and worked in that field since about 1975, when I started as a mule basically, loading and unloading payloads for 3 years without any pay, just to learn how to set up live shows. That vaulted me into a part time membership for I.A.T.S.E. (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) I was injured on a non union job during a show in Washington DC where banquet waiters left a sheet of water on a access floor where I fell and hit my head in a near fatal blow near my temple that left me with TMJ, a concussion, spinal damage, neck damage, a back injury and left out to basically fend for myself. I lost my health, home, career, fiancee and will to go on. As a result of going to 300 doctors appointments I canvassed for myself while fighting insurance companies who dragged their feet about getting me medical treatment for the injury, living in the front seat of a Oldmobiel Cutlass Sierra, I healed injured.
I have been homeless on and off since about 1981 when I was betrayed by my musical teacher and mentor who let his emotionally unstable wife throw me out into the streets after driving the 64 year old teachers wife moving them back to their home in Miami, Florida from Washington DC, because no one in their family would. When that happened I hitchhiked to Los Angeles to get work as an actor and ended up living on Skid Row and any other subterranean parking garage I could find to sleep in while working as an office caterer during the day. Eventually I hitchhiked back to Washington DC and eeked out a living that subsequently found me back in the street in 1989 (?). For the better part of the last 5 years, counting back from 2007, I lived in the back of a 1996, Chevy Blazer SUV. I had been living in the basement of a house belonging to someone in College Park, Maryland that didn't have any but 4 occupants in a 6 room house for about a year. I spent personal funds to effect repairs on the dilapidated property while living in a basement that flooded so bad sump pumps had to be imbedded in the floor and it had to be bleached to get rid of the mold and filth before being occupied. I ended up losing this renting place due to the managers mismanagement and my subsequent poverty. And as a result had to move back out into the wilderness again.
The domino effect of my whole desolation by having my property stolen from me then having to move in an emergency and store my things, only to have the movers steal my entire household. Documented and recorded in the court system.
A lot of people who have gotten to meet me said I should write a book. Being publically embarassed, raped and molested as a child until I was able to defend myself. Transparancy is nothing new to me, so I did write memoirs. Most are not here, but that which is, is here on line. WARNING: Contains Strong, Graphic, Adult language and is not for the faint of heart.
Most of my filmography was accomplished during a 9 year tenure living out of the back of a 1996 Chevy Blazer.
Why don't you get a job?
That all too familiar addage I always hear people say to me as if they have had any experience being where I am. Homeless. No one caring, people stepping on or over you like a rug, breaking car windows open to save dogs from dying from heat apnea, but it's okay for humans to starve and die at their feet. Over 200 cops in NYC enforcing animal cruelty laws, but no one feeds us anything other than sawdust with vitamins sprinkled in. It's why the emmaciated have pencil thin legs with huge guts. No nutrition, just that feeling of being 'full'.
How would we get to work? With what money?
How would we get home?
How would we eat before work to have the strength to work?
How would we eat lunch?
How would we eat dinner?
How would we do this for two weeks before generating a paycheck?
Paychecks aren't generated in two weeks. After working two weeks, the hours go to payroll. They take two weeks to process it. So, a month, with no food, no income, no money for bus or subway and they curse at me, we, us, 'Why don't you get a job?'
I have one. I have insomnia so I don't sleep. I starve so I don't eat. I never get to sit on anything softer than concrete or steel. I get up, and without a shower, I have to sell myself to people to make about 50 cents an hour on no sleep, no food, no clean clothes, no bath, wearing the same clothes for months, smelling like urine, sewage and body odor. I have to stand on my feet all day and talk to people I don't know in side of 5 to 15 seconds to sell them on the idea I need money they worked for, to get something to eat or starve to death. At the end of the day, I have made less than a sweat shop worker, so I eat substandard food. Go lay in the freezing cold or pouring rain or 4 foot of snow. Lay down on sub zero cold concrete or steel and get up and do it all over again or lose weight and starve. Day after day after day. People tell me about coming to America with nothing and starting a family. I have been working all my life and I have been take advantage of, the same amount of time.
Yet they say this isn't a job. It's not actually, it's slavery to pain and the grind to do or die. This is my story of being homeless for more than 22 years while, friends, family and others, just, watch. When I am around. When I am not, I could have died but they would have never known. The Lone Wolf, Nomad.