At Home He's a Tourist


Betsy is a healer, a psychic and has a great television show. It was Saturday night and Dina and I were going out to Williamsburg to Betsy's Birthday party. I wasn't feeling very well but we decided to go because Saturday night is a classic night to go out, and Betsy, who performs under the moniker The Best, is truly the best, so we knew her birthday party would be as well. We walked to the train and it was freezing out. It was literally zero degrees, We saw a homeless person and we started to talk about the pro's and con's of being homeless. Considering how freezing it was out it was difficult to think of any pro's. When you think about it though you can get so much free for doing absolutely nothing except for asking people for money and just showing up at various shelters, soup kitchens, and emergency rooms. It would be a good idea to become homeless for a year or so as an experiment and you could write a book about it. The homeless writer would be writing in a filthy gutter on a laptop. A person would walk by and be like "where'd that homeless person get that laptop?" Another person would say "Yeah, and it's a Mac, I only have a P.C. at home and it's really slow". The homeless writer would then say " You need to switch from Vios to Time Warner". Another thing you can get for free when your homeless is wi-fi. It would make a good Simpsons episode. Lisa could be the homeless writer and Homer (who can't recognize Lisa in her grubby, filthy homeless state) would yell "Look, that homeless person has a laptop! It's a Mac and we only have P.C.'s! And she's stealing our wi-fi! Let's kill her! And the people of Springfield would run Lisa out of town and by the skin of her teeth she would escape jumping onto a boxcar of a freight train right before the Springfield mob got to her. Billy Bragg would be in the boxcar to serenade Lisa with This Land is Your Land. Lisa would sigh. The Simpson's is classic like that. So we were on the train and of course since it was freezing out there were so many homeless people walking through the train asking for money. It's difficult because all homeless seem to be sick and poor to various degrees so it seems you should give them all food, clothing, and shelter. You could make an argument that the United States couldn't be considered a civilization till all it's people had food, clothing, and shelter. Some people say homeless people are really rich people and they pretend to be homeless to get more rich or for the entertainment value. Other people say homeless people just use the money they get to buy drugs and alcohol. That's not really a bad thing though because isn't it better to have currency flowing through a market than just collecting dust in a coin-purse or on the night-stand. On the train Dina gave money to a homeless person who was just asking for money. I only give money to people who do a song or some music, like the song Sing for your Supper. I hope that doesn't make me a republican. It seems that maybe that's wrong because the people on the train who play music are usually better off than a beggar. A lot of them look like they are probably not homeless. Someone once told me there was no difference between a beggar and a busker. It was strange to hear because the person likes to listen to music. Maybe it's a philosophical idea. It's really difficult for me to help a beggar because New York is a Dickensonian city full of disease, filth, and pestulance and after awhile your just like " get out of here, you stink, you're filthy, you're corse, you're rude, you're foul, you're obnoxious and you're a trouble maker". And I truly was when I got thrown out of the bar that night for being a lout.


my experience

Barry Bliss's picture

Homelessness is something that probably does not exist.
Someone may have no permanent home (none of us have a permanent anything), or no roof and walls, but a home is basically wherever you are that is designated as your space.
I have been "homeless", but I have never written a book about it.
I lived in a tent for a while off the side of a major road. My food came from dumpsters and my books from the free shelf at a local library.
It's not necessarily true that a "homeless" person has more free time.
Walking to the different dumpsters, finding a place to pee and doo-doo when not in the woods, picking through the food and lugging it all back take time.
If one can live simply enough one can have a room somewhere and not put in any more work/hours.
I rented a room in Norfolk, Va. once and paid rent and bought my food by washing dishes 3 days a week.

PS--Some people really need help.
A lot of times it's not the people that ask for it though.