Zen and the Art of Homelessness

September 30, 2005 at 5:05 PM | Posted in Notes on Society | 1 Comment
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Originally published 07/27/05 at webdisaster.net 

‘Cause during the heatwave, you know, I first heard about the deaths from the heat in Phoenix, Arizona. Then, as more details were released, it was reported that they were all or mostly homeless people.

This strikes me as completely ridiculous, and stupid on their part. If I were homeless (and believe me, I am closer to being homeless than you might think. I have a house, two houses, actually, cars, a ton of bills, precariously ahead of the bill collectors serendipitously by way of a new job. But all I have to do, I believe, is say the wrong thing at work, or the right thing to my wife, and I could bounce on the curb faster than you could say “shelter workshop”) I would plan my life around the seasons.

I mean WHY would you stay in Arizona in the summer? You’re homeless!
What are you leaving behind? Your favorite cardboard box? Your favorite
hot rock in the sun? “Arizona Heatwave” is redundant. I drove through
Arizona in early April, it was 9 oclock in the morning, and it was 90
degrees! Why, in God’s name, would you not leave?

Since you can come and go more or less as you please, subject to vagrancy laws, in the summer you want to start traveling NORTH, towards Minnesota, or North Dakota. Or New Hampshire. I bet they have a great welfare program there, thanks to that freak that was governor that ran for president–what was his name?–who cares. Dean! That’s it.
The point is, if you’re going to be sleeping outside, you want the weather to cooperate. Then in the Fall, head south, to spend the winter in Alabama, or Texas. Maybe Florida. I would avoid Arizona and New Mexico. There is a reason why only a few thousand people live there.  It’s a freakin desert!

Same with North Dakota, I’m sure. But in the right season it would be easy to be homeless there. No one would ever find you. If they did, you could just pretend to be an out of work cowboy.

I had a guy working for me whose big life plan was to QUIT HIS JOB and move to California and be homeless, because they have a great welfare system there.

Being homeless doesn’t mean you dont have a place to live. You could have a car, and sleep in it. Or a truck. It would cut down dramatically on the amount of junk mail you would get, and allow for easier migration. Instead of walking for weeks to a new climate, you could drive for a day or two.  See? See how easy it is? And honestly, you don’t even need a car, just a thumb and loose morals when it comes to paying for the ride.

In fact, this has sort of developed into my retirement plan. My original retirement plan was to work until I die. Then retire the next day. But now I have a savings, some investment stuff going on, a 401k, for crying out loud. So now, I figure I can extend my retirement money, which will be meager at best because I started it so late in life. I mean, I’m practically pushing 60. I can live in a car, and travel the country. I’ll be like Faulkner. No, not Faulkner. Tennessee Williams?  Who was it that wrote the Call of the Wild? No, not him. But, you know, like some famous author whose name escapes me at the moment. Like the one in Florida that people trek down and impersonate. You’d think someone who is traditionally good with words, or at least able to dump out a lot of them at an alarming rate, would know this.

But you get the idea. When this all occurred to me, I realized why most homeless people don’t do this: They are stupid. I mean, look, they’re homeless.
It’s not some counter-society, revolutionary, anarchist desire to be a rebel and live off the grid. It’s a history bad decision making in their life that led them to live in the gutter in Arizona in the summer. Let’s just hope they didn’t breed before they died.


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