Homeless Lite

By GrahamLewis · May 7, 2022 · ·
  1. Back in the ol' hometown and I decided that rather than staying in and paying for a hotel -- and rather than accepting invites to crash at friend's houses or sleeping on mom's couch -- I'd take my tent and sleeping bag and camp in a city park. It's a nice tent and a nice park, though my little tent is dwarfed by rows of RVs. But the night was quiet and calm, no rain and no noise.

    But it's hard to make the compromise between hotel and home. The tent's too small to do anything other than sleep, and there's no place to stash and unload a suitcase. So I'm more or less living out of my car, fetching stuff when I need it, stashing stuff when I don't. There's a bathroom but only a cold-water shower that sells time, e.g. so many minutes of water for each quarter. So I'll shower at mom's. No internet there, of course, so this is being posted from Starbucks, fueled by a mocha, on a decent laptop that I own.
    What comes to mind is simply how hard it would be to be really homeless and on a very tight or nonexistent income. My "sufferings" are all self-induced. I could afford a decent hotel and I have the money for Starbucks and restaurants and gas -- and in a couple days I'll be home to my house in semi-suburbia. I'll be glad to be home, and will quickly forget how it felt to be temporarily without a solid safe structure.

    Tonight, after making a few visits to friends in their nice American homes, I will head back to my small tent (bought from REI and not stitched together from old canvas and cardboard) and crawl into my clean and warm sleeping bag on an air mattress and cot rather than old newspapers) and will be grateful that it's all but impossible for me to comprehend how hard it would be to be at rock bottom with little hope for any decent future. And I hope I never will.

    NB -- another way it helps to be among the privileged. I went to a nice greasy spoon for a good old American breakfast, but when I went to pay I learned the place did not accept credit cards. I had no cash or checks, and didn't want to incur a fee from an ATM. The cashier called out the owner, who after pretending to be pissed off, told me to forget about it and said he would write it off. I was pleasantly stunned and appreciative. It was only while writing this entry that it was another example of the rich getting richer -- if I'd been without cash and without credit cards, e.g. broke, I suspect he would have called the cops. Even though I could afford to pay I got a free meal..


  1. Madman
    I have good camping and outdoors gear, but even then, I absolutely fear becoming homeless. I'm not made for that kind of a harsh reality, I don't think I could survive it for long. That is also why I am very appreciative of being where I am, in Sweden, where it is a bit harder to become homeless than in the states. We still have homeless here, of course.

    It's fortunate to be privileged, and to have a home, a base of operations where you can clean yourself daily, safely collect your food and prepare it. Having a home gives you oppertunities to live healthy that you would otherwise not get. It is easy to overlook what you have, and want more. But I am so happy to have my 29 square meters and small kitchen.

    Homelessness can be a slow death.
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