Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wayward Souls

"How can you sit out all day in this cold?" I asked Slop this morning.

"You get used to it," he said. "It is better than sitting home all day and listening to my sister's kids aggravate the shit out of me."

I chuckled as I took another drag off my cigarillo.

"Seen George yet?" Slop asked.

"No," I replied. "I don't have enough gas to get to Opelika and back."

Slop is on disability like me. He says his sister is his representative payee and uses that money to take care of her five kids leaving him with nothing. He always seems to have money though and certainly isn't missing any meals. Slop must weigh 300 pounds.

"What's happening with that homeless guy you were always reading about on the web?"

"You mean Kevin?" I asked.

"Yeah, that crazy homeless guy in Nashville."

"Oh, he is still milking his readership for money and chess sets," I replied. "He just got to see his kids for the first time in seven years."

"Chess sets?" Slop asked, ignoring the rest of my reply.

"Yeah, he is playing chess now as a hobby," I replied. "Once it was poker, then knitting, then origami. He always has some hair-brained scheme to make money."

Slop burst out laughing.

"He sounds like a real character."

"I find him fascinating," I replied as I put out what was left of my cigarillo on the pavement.

I told Slop goodbye and ambled on down to the train tracks. I thought of Kevin, The Homeless Guy, and his life. He has no responsibility. No real worries other than getting his Starbucks card refilled so he can drink coffee and browse the Internet all day via wifi. He loves to portray the homeless life as hard, but those of us who have lived it know otherwise. It can be a very pleasant way of life if you just have a modicum of common sense and use your brain. I am of the firm opinion that if homelessness was so hard, then he would have never voluntarily returned to it when he left his apartment.

I finally watched a few trains and then headed home. Many times I missed my camera and had left it at home. I am so afraid it will get damaged being jostled around in my backpack. That little $400 dollar camera is the most expensive thing I own other than my car. I promise to get up some pictures of around town today when I am able.


Ryan said...

Sounds weird but I've always wanted to try living homeless... As long as I had my laptop and a place to charge it in the cafe I'd be leeching internet access from. :P

And coffee. Every day. Other than that though...

Ryan said...

Sorry I left a bit out. I meant to say "sounds weird (coming from someone whose family could hardly gain any more money and whose bedroom is like the lounge of a 5 star hotel)". Lol, NOW it sounds a bit stranger. xD Have a nice Thursday.

Anonymous Boxer said...

I think we all have that fantasy of leaving society behind to see if life is easier when we aren't constrained by "rules." But for me, I love sleeping in MY bed.

So, I just make my home my "cave."

Kelly Jene said...

I'm glad you felt good enough to get out and walk!

justLacey said...

I fantasize about scaling down my lifestyle, but homelessness doesn't interest me. It's what I fear most actually. That and terminal illness. Wow that was depressing...

Mike said...


Thanks for the comment and kind words. It’s nice knowing that you understand.

When I lived in San Diego I hung out with a couple guys that were homeless, who lived in the lush canyons that run throughout the city. When I looked into their eyes, I saw that they were so full of untamed life. Although by society’s standards they had nothing, they had an intensity of spirit that is lost by many people. Perhaps they were just special people to begin with, and it wasn’t a characteristic of homelessness. Either way, it made me wonder about my own relatively cushy lifestyle.

Hope you’re having a good day.

nengaku said...

It's funny. I've experienced homelessness a few times but, at the time, never thought of myself as "homeless." I considered myself "on the road" or "living in my truck" or "backpacking" or otherwise having an adventure. I only remember a very few times that I was miserable - and those were cold rainy nights when I couldn't find a bridge or an overpass to sleep under. Those nights seemed to go on forever.
I sure appreciate my home now.