Monday, January 17, 2011


Well you might ask why, but I went out, and re-enacted my homeless days over the weekend. From Friday to now early Monday morning I've been on the outside. Mind you not continuously.Like last time I still had my job which gave me options the hard core homeless have long lost. So yeah I still went to the radio station for my shifts, but then went back out to the street when they were over. Also like before I slept on the Long Island Railroad.

Far safer than the subway. That is if you can keep up a middle class appearance.

'But why?

Maybe like war vets I needed to see the old battle fields. Btw this particular war ain't over,..not nearly. Not with 1,000,000+ more folks facing the streets this year.

Maybe I needed to see if I could still do it. Still survive. These times are so uncertain. It's not impossible that I might re-join the growing population of the post industrial dispossessed.

Still there was a net beneath this high wire act, and I knew it. Just like Yankee Civil War re-en-actors know there's a hot bath, pizza, tv, and a warm bed at the hotel after they shoot it out with Robert E. Lee's boys.

I knew I could go home,..but I was driven to do this anyway. I may do it again.

Right now I need a really hot bath, and night's sleep in a bed. An actual bed. I do not, and never will take such things as this for granted. I'm now surprised at how quickly all of the civilized middle class niceties melted away.

When I was 'really' homeless I was too busy trying to survive to notice.

Your clothing becomes soiled, and you start to stink quickly out there. Again I don't remember noticing last time. Though I imagine everyone around me did. I think if I stayed out for a week all the reflexes would have come back.

..not to mention the swelling of my ankles.

This from standing or crouching all the time. One has to keep moving or you're a sitting duck for the cops, crazies, gangs or do-gooders. All of them want a piece of you for assorted reasons.

My sister, and the social consular I had for a while think these episodes are a form of urban post traumatic stress. I guess it is. Sort of like Veit-Nam era vets going out to live in the deep woods to recreate their wartime environment.

Seems that's the only place some of them feel safe in. No one has written much about the post-homeless experience. I guess because not that many make it back to the main stream, and those that do ain't talking.

Maybe I should do something along those lines,..we'll see.

Also long time readers will know this isn't the first time I've done something like this. In the months after my recovery I used to go out at night, and re-visit some of the places I had been.

Places where I hid, tried to sleep or have meals.

I haven't done anything like that in nearly two years, but the need came back with a strange electric urgency. So out I went. No planning I just went. I'm troubled that if it happens again I might not come back. Not come back to safety, routine, and electric bills.

Dammit, where are the support groups for ex-homeless?!

Lawd knows there's groups for 'everything' else. Sorry to my knowledge I wasn't abducted by the space alien saucer guys nor do I hear my toaster speaking to me,..much.

'But I did my time at the front. The photos here are from my 'real' homeless wanderings. Back then I was a forcefully conscripted grunt in the unending American culture, and economic wars. I did my bit, but the memories won't go away.

When you are outside of the main stream you're out of sync with the world. You've become "unstuck in time" as Kurt Vonnegut sez in "Slaughter House Five". So-called reality flows around you.

You exist in a different time stream.

A slower one. One that notices details invisible to everyone else. Maybe that's how I, and all the other outsiders survive. We can see the side spaces. The time space loop holes that offer shelter for us.

This video comes close to what I'm trying to share. Watch it.

NYC - Mindrelic Timelapse from Mindrelic on Vimeo.

More later.


Cannibal said...

During the Ted William's flareup I was reading Huffington Post and came across this fellow's blog he's writing from the streets with the help of his cellphone and wifi spots. 60 And Suddenly Homeless has been since February of last year and still is.
Here's the URL which brings you back to his first posts in August.

Zaek said...

The whole subject of homelessness badly frightens me because frankly I'm not that far from the edge myself. It would only take a fairly minor misfortune to push me over. I don't think I'd survive it, psychologically or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Camden New Jersey has just laid off 1/4 of it's civil service today.

Local news had images of long lines of cops, and fire men turning in their badges, fire arms, and assorted equipment.

This is the other shoe everyone has been waiting for to fall.

Other small, and medium American cities are sadly experiencing the same. The two year Federal stimulus has played out, and the floor has been pulled out from middle America.

The same fools that just voted the republicans back into control of the House.

Unk Syd