Turns Out I’m a Tramp

menI thought I was a hobo but I won’t be a hobo until I have enough money to travel (or if I start hitching rides!)

According to Wikipedia:

A hobo is a migratory worker or homeless vagabond —especially one who is penniless. The term originated in the Western—probably Northwestern—United States around 1890Unlike “tramps“, who work only when they are forced to, and bums, who do not work at all, “hobos” are traveling workers.

I promoted this blog at a forum and a guy who checked out my site said “I can’t think of any reason why anyone would want to give you charity just so you can avoid having a job.”

First, it’s not actually charity and second, I have 10 jobs.  Geesh.  It’s not easy being a tramp.

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A Hobo Song

I’m told that Hobos were once men looking for work…not ne’er-do- wells.

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I think I have always had a “bad attitude” about this church I can go to in the morning for food and coffee but THIS morning, I woke up with a good attitude about it.  The reason is, I got to thinking about it and I realized I like the people at the church better than I like the people at the gym.  I can go there before 7 am and do a lot of basics like peeing, washing my face, brushing my hair and teeth, having coffee, eating, without any snooty people looking down on me.

I think part of the reason I woke up with a better attitude is this:  the other nite it finally happened.  I had one of those middle of the night emergencies where I needed to find a bathroom fast.  I went to a gas station that I often go to when I need to use the restroom in the morning.  I ALWAYS buy something when I use their restroom even though I probably could get away with not doing so.  Others do.  The workers there are always very cordial with me, even if they suspect I sleep in my van.  Anyway, this night…because it was at a time I usually don’t come in there were different people working.  I used the bathroom first (emergency remember?) then went to look for a drink to buy.  While I was looking this ugly guy who barely spoke English asked me if I had come to the gas station in a car!  It was his way of ascertaining if I was homeless.  I probably didn’t look good because it was the middle of the night and I was sick.  I was pretty mortified that the guy was profiling me.  It really was none of his business how I got to the gas station.  (I drove the van, of course)  Then the guy up at the front started asking me questions too.  I told him I was coming from work.  You have to lie sometimes.

Anyway, I just appreciate a place where I can show up and just be who I am, warts and all, as they say.  Then I tidy up and hopefully look “normal”  for the rest of the world.

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Useful Link for Free-Sleepers

If you are an urban camper or other free-sleeper (in your van, car, tent or just on the ground) this link has some good product recommendations.  I am thinking about getting the Kelly Kettle because you can use it will many kinds of fuel including sticks you get off the ground, and I am also going to check out this Earth Class Mail.  Thanks Geezer for recommending this website.  It’s kind of a strange site.  Some offshoot of Amazon, I guess.  I’ll bet the guy has made some money off it.  Geezer, what did you google to find the site?  Or was it recommended on someone else’s site maybe?

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Old Witch

witch-showing-the-money-isolated-on-whiteI worked for an old witch today.  She doesn’t know where I live but she knows I struggle financially.  She was a witch to me.  She has Alzheimer’s so I take that into consideration but I may not work for her again.  I told her that I didn’t like the way she talked to me.  She said that is part of “work”.  I said, “not for me”.  After 2.5 hours of it I said I had to go and that she didn’t have to pay me at all.  I just had to get out of there.  She paid me anyway and I’m sure we can be friends.  I’d rather help her out for free so I’m not obligated to stay too long.

I know most people think I’m stupid or somehow morally corrupt because I won’t take abuse in order to obtain a few federal reserve notes but I don’t care.

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Homeless Newspapers

I wrote an article almost two years ago about a newspaper created and sold by homeless people.  I was excited to find another such newspaper today.  It is called The Contributor and it’s out of Nashville, TN.  These are Street Newspapers and The Contributor describes them as newspapers that focus on issues surrounding homelessness and poverty and are sold by homeless and formerly homeless individuals on the street.


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Homeless Encampment Accidentally(?) Destroyed

A man made a shelter in the woods and the city tore it down after seeing it in a newspaper article.  The city claimed they thought it was an “abandoned site”



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Saturday Church and Reading at Night-POLL!

Went for breakfast (coffee!) and got my laundry washed at a mega-church in the area.  Almost everyone is very nice…with the exceptions of a few grumps.  I don’t know what some people are so grumpy about especially when THOUSANDS of dollars have been put into their lives for hotel rooms and well…everything you need.  You know who you are.

I always learn something good among my homeless friends though.  I learned some things about the bible that I didn’t know and I learned that it is probably ok for me to read with a light in my van at night as long as it’s not in my sleep spot.

Ya see, on the weekends the libraries close early and if I haven’t made social plans with one of my “housed” friends or something I get bored.  And when I get bored I want to drink alcohol.  Now before you judge, walk in my shoes.  Drinking (and drugging too, I’m sure), helps a long night pass more quickly and enjoyably.  Even housed people do it but it’s not something I can afford to do.  I can’t afford to pay for alcohol and God forbid I get randomly hassled by a cop and have alcohol on my breath!  You can get a dui that way, even if you haven’t been driving!  If you have an open container in your vehicle and/or alcohol on your breath, you are really pushing the envelope.

So I’d rather read instead but I’m nervous about it.  It screams homeless when you are sitting in your car reading.  I never sat in my car or van at night reading when I was housed.  I went home to read.

I’m trying to decide what would work better.  Sitting in a residential neighborhood reading or sitting in a crowded parking lot.  I’m leaning toward the crowded parking lot.  There, it might look like you are waiting for someone.

I’m curious, what would you think if you looked outside your window one night and saw an ugly van out there with a middle aged woman reading with a flashlight in there?  What if she was there for two hours? Be honest.  Would you think she didn’t belong there?  Would you call the cops?  Please participate in the poll below.  Thanks!

What Would You Do If You Saw a Person Reading a Book In Her Vehicle at Night Outside Your Home?

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Older People

I think one of the ways I am going to make money is from older people.  I also think that they don’t always need physical help as much as emotional help.  I don’t mean that in a nasty way at all.  I think everyone knows that a lot of older people are lonely.  They try to think of clever things to say to keep you talking longer because they Don’t. Want. You. To. Leave.

There are currently three older people in the last week that have hired me for short periods this way.  Two I have known for over a year.  One I just met a couple of months ago.  Thing is, I have always enjoyed the company of people older than myself so to get paid for hanging out doing lite work for them is no great sacrifice EXCEPT…

One of the people (a man) I am going to help is kind of a drinker and says inappropriate things sometimes.  I might have to charge him extra.  I am going to start “working” for him today.  I made sure his wife is aware of the situation.  They are actually wealthy and I don’t want her to think for a minute that I’m trying to steal her husband away.  She’s wife number 3!  No amount of money could make me want to share my bed with an Alkie.  I love them from afar!

So the hardest part of working for these folks will be tearing myself away and not feeling guilty.  They have a way of making me feel guilty.  Still, I imagine sometimes their problems are of their own making.  To a great extent we create our world…especially our relationships.  I must remember this for myself because when I am old, I’m probably not going to be able to afford to pay people to visit me.

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Favorite Spot and Trashy Treasure

Here are a couple of photos from one of my favorite spots.  I visited there yesterday.  It’s a little out of my way so I don’t always want to use the gas to go there.

0226151342a0226151347 0226151346aI always feel refreshed when I go here.  There’s a nice breeze from the water, it’s quiet and there are no homeless people around to remind me of unhappy things.  I can just enjoy nature.  Quiet to me is a dwindling resource.

Around 10 years ago I lived in a ghetto and perhaps once a week or two there would be a police helicopter looking for someone and I hated to hear it.  Now, in this “nicer” area, a noisy police helicopter is over my head every day.  I resent the intrusion.

I try to drive down alleys whenever possible now when I’m on my way to work or whatever, looking for things that people are throwing away that I might be able to sell.  Some people actually make a practice of doing this every morning…going up and down alleys  but I’m not sure I should spend the gas money on this until I’m fairly sure it is profitable.  Yesterday I found a surfboard.  It has a small crack in the front but the owner of a surfshop says it might be worth $80 as is.  I think he was just being nice.  I listed it on Craigslist for $50 or best offer.  I would be happy to get $20.  I actually had it in the van last night when I slept.  I need to unload it!

Ya have to be careful with this sort of thing because if things don’t sell you have to be willing to face that…that you made a “mistake” about its value and that you have to throw it away.  Otherwise you end up with a storage unit (or worse yet a vehicle!!) full of junk. I don’t want to end up on that Hoarders show!


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