Homelessness in America

I don’t think people understand what homelessness really is.  I mean, you can say you donate to the salvation army (but if you ever say it to me I’ll punch you in the face), but that doesn’t mean you fully comprehend what it is you’re donating to. There’s no wrong in it, you’re still essentially helping somebody, but you could stand to know more about what you’re donating towards.

When I tell somebody that I was homeless for most of a decade, I’m not trying to get across the fact that I didn’t have anywhere to live.  I’m trying to tell them that I don’t understand society.  I can’t make small talk or understand the implications of inflection on words at specific points.  That’s something I guarantee you take for granted.  It’s your freakin language.

Why do YOU think hobo-speak evolved?  It’s a LANGUAGE… why?  Homeless people don’t have anybody to talk to.  Homeless people don’t talk to folks.  We beg for money to get by and people tell us to get a job.  Like we ever could without somewhere to shower on a daily basis… or fresh clothes.  I certainly didn’t own a razor.

When I tell somebody I was homeless for most of a decade, what I’m trying to get across is the fact that I slept outside.  That I was raped once (possibly twice), that I was beaten for food or the books I had on loan from the library.  What I’m trying to get across is the fact that even in the years since my homelessness I haven’t ever had the financial stability to be able to pay for medical bills, or the insurance to get somebody else to do so.

Help from the government, you say?!  Requires. An. Address.

I don’t know if I’m diseased, have cancer, have an extended case of the flu, or if I’m dying.

“THERE ARE WAYS TO GET THIS FOR FREE!”, you say.

You have to actually know who to talk to for these things… and for somebody that’s afraid of social interaction (for obvious reasons) that can be kind of hard.  And even once you DO know who to talk to, she needs to ask you these 20 pages of questions in triplicate.  I want to kill her within the first three, because it’s obvious she’s done 100 others that day and she hates her job.

It’s not obvious because I’m rather good at expressing myself via writing, but I can barely talk to another person for a few minutes.  Within seconds I’m wondering why they’re looking over there, or if they’re secretly laughing at me, or if they’re looking down at me the same way everyone has my whole life.  Then I start getting angry and flipping out.

When I say I was homeless for most of a decade, what I’m trying to get across, is that I slept on a trash compactor behind a grocery store, or on a sidewalk behind another grocery store, or (my personal favorite) next to a little illegal fire pit I dug for myself behind a trailor park next to the library.  If it rained or snowed?  Tough shit.  When I was sick, nobody cared.  There was no medicine.  The only time I ever saw concern on somebody’s face was the time that I woke up to the EMTs because somebody had thought I was a corpse laying in their childrens’ park and called me in.

Homelessness is not being without a house.  Homelessness is a lack of basic humanity.  The homeless are made by their peers to be animals.  An animal I remain.

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