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WildWind
(acolyte)
10/14/06 07:40 PM
She's just like you and me, but she's homeless  

Before reading this post, I'd like you to think of a "homeless person." Remember the image that immediately came to mind. This will be relevant later.

When I first found this several weeks ago. I was sort of torn between thinking it was friggin' hilarious and thinking it was super-cool. Y'know, it's kind of rad that additional opportunities are becoming available for the homeless.

Shortly after I discovered the phenomenon above, I read an article in one of San Francisco's local free rags about the homeless population in the Haight. At one point, the article discussed the local shelter, which offered "a place for homeless youth to take a shower, have a bite to eat, or check their email." I admit to having been a bit taken aback by the "check their email" part of that, though on further reflection I realized that it makes perfect sense - why wouldn't a homeless person have an email address? It's free, and since s/he is probably not carrying around a cell phone and doesn't have a physical address by definition, it's the best if not the only way to correspond with others.

Later in the article, there was an anecdote about two young homeless men in Golden Gate Park comparing their laptops. That really threw me for a loop. I mean, a laptop computer is certainly not one of the things one would generally expect to see among a homeless person's property, right? The article did mention that one of the young men had stolen his laptop from a frat house; it did not say where the other one got his. I did wonder where they went to charge their laptops.

Then, today, I was having lunch with a friend and I mentioned the above thoughts to him, and he told me a story. Apparently at about 3 a.m. at a Taco Cabana (24-hour grease pit with great drunken and hangover food, for those of you not in the know), he'd seen a homeless man that he recognized from the local streets sitting at a table with an entire electronic set-up: laptop, speakers, headphones, and maybe some other stuff too. The computer was plugged into the wall and he was working. Basically, it was his office, and he went to it late at night when there wasn't a lot of traffic there.

So, at the beginning of the post, when you thought of a "homeless person," did your image match the sorts of things that I mentioned above? Mine sure didn't when I stumbled upon all of these things.

The "face of the homeless" appears to be changing. Sure, there are still lots of people who fit the stereotype. There are lots of people who are mentally ill, or disabled, or otherwise in an unfortunate place that is likely to make it difficult for them to get on their feet. But there also seem to be homeless people who are technologically savvy, connected, and resourceful.

What do you think of this? Do you think the homeless who do have this knowledge and these resources are using them to try not to become not homeless? Do you think they have an obligation to do so?

I'm not really sure what I think, but I certainly find the phenomenon fascinating.

WW

If you don't know who the Yardbirds are, put your head in the oven right now and set it on broil. Because you are a turkey. -Alice Cooper

th0mas
(acolyte)
10/15/06 08:27 AM
Re: She's just like you and me, but she's homeless new [re: WildWind]  

It is not an urban legend that some of those people would be smart and could be wealthy enough to have another lifestyle, it might be as well that they chose this kind of life because it offers some freedoms you can't afford even when having a good job (which reminds me of some medical student friend of mine who just couldn't finish his studies and then pretty much got completly out of his former life - with the slight difference that he could hang around at his parents' place - it was mainly a motivation thing he got under control after a few months).
So perhaps it is possible to give up one's professional life and still stick to social habits without too much running costs. All those wireless options make surfing cheaper than smoking.


Liest das denn keiner außer mir?

to_dizzy
(crash course raver)
10/15/06 09:38 AM
Re: She's just like you and me, but she's homeless new [re: th0mas]  

Some of the "homeless" you see are extremely rich. It's not so bad pretending to be homeless, in fact it's fun, if you have a beautiful home and a lavish lifestyle to return to.

I had a taste of this when I was 18. I hitchhiked from DC to Ft. Lauderdale. I was the only "homeless" person I met on the road who owned his own car at home and was currently enrolled at a university.



Marquis
(wise like orangutan)
10/16/06 12:44 PM
I'm your charity case so buy me somethin' to eat new [re: to_dizzy]  

In reply to:

Some of the "homeless" you see are extremely rich.


Dizzian hyperbole aside, this is actually true. A friend of mine used to work at this very chi-chi candy store on the Upper East Side, and on a nearby corner, a man had staked out a place to sit with his small menagerie of animals: a couple dogs, a couple cats, etc., with signs requesting money from passersby to help feed the little darlings.

As it turns out, the man was not homeless. He lived in an apartment nearby (n.b. apartments in this neighborhood are probably among the most expensive places to live in the U.S.), his rent paid for almost exclusively through the charity of people giving him money to feed his animals.

Put it to his head and said, "Ya scared ain't ya?"
He said, "Hustler for death, no Heaven for a gangsta."


Vanessa_Y
(crash course raver)
10/18/06 10:34 AM
Re: She's just like you and me, but she's homeless new [re: WildWind]  

Perhaps they were not always homeless before and already had an email account? This was a strange but good read.

Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
Friedrich Nietzsche


heathenpunkgirl
(crash course raver)
10/18/06 07:27 PM
She's just like you and me, but rich! new [re: to_dizzy]  

In reply to:

Some of the "homeless" you see are extremely rich.


Yeah, I worked at a truck stop, where we had this VERY disgusting woman who was your typical homeless person: talked funny, smelled funny. But when she opens her wallet to pay, she's got a ton of cash and credit cards all in her name.

My manager got real close with her, and she said she's basically living on the streets, so she can enjoy her real life that much more when she gets there. She plans to meet up with her husband in a few years, (who is also homeless, but in another state) and then get everything back on track. She doesn't own a house or anything, she just has tons of fucking money.

I also read this AWESOME FUCKING BOOK everyone here needs to read: Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk, who wrote Fight Club. It's a book with about 10 different people's stories, and one of the stories is about a couple who's incredibly rich, meeting up with a few friends who are homeless. The friends who are homeless say that poor is the new rich, and proceeds to show their very rich friends how cool of a life it is to be poor.
Please read that book.
-=pumpkin=-

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia- fear of long words.

theidiot2
(wild eyed peoploid)
10/19/06 04:12 AM
Re: She's just like you and me, but rich! new [re: heathenpunkgirl]  

In reply to:

poor is the new rich


I'm sure Fuck Palahniuk is out there being poor right now.


Temperature's rising, but any idiot would know that...

WildWind
(acolyte)
10/19/06 06:20 PM
I know statements are online, but... new [re: heathenpunkgirl]  

In reply to:

But when she opens her wallet to pay, she's got a ton of cash and credit cards all in her name.


How does she have credit cards without an address?

WW

3 months of pregnancy may increase the length of pregnancy, banana. -Spam

Vanessa_Y
(crash course raver)
10/20/06 12:21 PM
Re: I know statements are online, but... new [re: WildWind]  

She got them when she had an address? Other than that, I dunno. How does she send payments without an address though? Maybe she isn't really homeless but just needs to bathe...

Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
Friedrich Nietzsche


Strawman
(chameleon, comedian, corinthian and caricature)
10/20/06 02:33 PM
Re: I know statements are online, but... new [re: WildWind]  

In reply to:

How does she have credit cards without an address?


I don't know about where you are, but three branches of bank in England have been disposing of rubbish that hasn't been shredded.



WildWind
(acolyte)
10/23/06 07:46 PM
But like, fraud and stuff new [re: Strawman]  

In reply to:

I don't know about where you are, but three branches of bank in England have been disposing of rubbish that hasn't been shredded.


Sure, like I said in my subject, I know most banks can go paperless, but will a bank issue a credit card without a physical address? Even if she got the cards when she had a physical address, would the bank allow the accounts to remain open if it's discovered that she's not at the physical address on the account, and there's no forwarding address?

WW

3 months of pregnancy may increase the length of pregnancy, banana. -Spam

heathenpunkgirl
(crash course raver)
10/24/06 02:36 PM
Re: But like, fraud and stuff new [re: WildWind]  

She coould have a P.O. box..

-=pumpkin=-

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia- fear of long words.



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