Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hobo's, home, and the homeless

  There are times when in the course of a conversation I am reminded of a blog I wrote some time back. Then, I'll go in search of that posting and read it again. I often find I do not like the style in which it was written or the words chosen. I am surprised when I find my opinion has changed on whatever topic I was discussing, yes I talk to myself, but have yet to pen a rebuttal. I think it is entirely possible to rebuke oneself. In fact, I highly recommend doing so when the situation warrants it. Yesterday I had such an occurrence. Reading an older blog that is. Now I still agree with what I was saying so no rebuttal required this time. In all fairness though, perhaps I was being insensitive ? Nah, I was just being what the kids call "snarky. " Us older folks would use the word snide. The English language is an ever growing thing. I wonder if they added words in Latin all the time. I mean, where those old people cool ? I'm getting off track here.
 The old blog I was reading was really a question. It would make an interesting term paper for anyone studying sociology. When did Hobo's become labeled as homeless people ? First I suppose you have to answer the question, do hobo's still exist in America ? I don't think they do. My idea of a hobo was formed back in the sixties. A hobo was a man, you didn't see female hobos, carrying his belongings in a rag tied to the end of a stick. Why they didn't use a backpack was never questioned., but they didn't. They hopped on freight trains and moved about the country. They lived in the jungle ! At least that is what was said of them, they lived in a hobo jungle. Some books called them transient workers. That was because the majority of those hobos would work for a meal or a few dollars, then move on. I've read about them some, they had there own secret language too. Well, it wasn't really a language but a series of markings, like gang graffiti, that told other hobos certain things. Things like this house is good for a handout, or a doctor lives here , others indicated to stay away from certain places and people. It was quite the system. But I don't see any evidence of that today. Shoot a hobo was one of our favorite costumes for Halloween. Hobos were kinda lovable folks after a while, who could forget Freddy the freeloader.
 But this is where the question comes in, when did they go from hobo to homeless ? Hobos moved around all the time, except when they were in their jungles, but homeless people stay put. Fact is they are more like squatters than anything else. Homeless people are often thought of as scary, mentally unstable folks. In more recent times the image has changed to folks that are down of their luck. Homeless folks have wives and children. They may have pets as well. What they don't have is a home. Society has taken to providing shelters for these folks. What I'm wondering about is when did the change take place ? I'm certain their were women and children that didn't have homes when I was a child, what did they do back then ? They weren't hobos. I just don't remember hearing anything about that situation. I heard about gypsy's , but never saw any. Gypsy's were like rich hobos, they had wagons and took the families with them. I guess it never really caught on in America but I hear they exist in foreign countries, especially Romania, Dracula was from Romania. When I was little I was told Gypsy's bought little children. I'm not sure why they did that, but I would be threatened with that. I'll sell you to the Gypsy's ! Maybe those Gypsy's sold you to Dracula was my thought.
 I can't but wonder if the more charitable we become as a society towards these folks, the more we will see of them ? Now I'm not talking about the unfortunate ones that wind up in that position through no fault of their own. Nature disasters' and just plain bad luck can and will place folks in an untenable position.
 What I'm wondering about are the ones that do so by choice. Hobo's lived that lifestyle mostly because they wanted to. At least the literature I have read about them says that was the case. They are those folks with a restless spirit. They would rather not be tied to any one place or thing. In a way, like the cowboys were. Moving from place to place, working a little, then moving on. There is a portion of the homeless population that feels the same way. Why work and worry about life when you can just live it. We tend to think of those folks as either bums or having mental issues. We have taken to trying to " cure " these folks. Set them on the straight and narrow as the saying goes. So why does that population seems to be on the rise ? It is a good social question I think. If I don't mind setting aside all sense of pride and dignity I can be given all I need without any effort on my part at all. I'll even be told to be " proud " of who I am and that there is " dignity " in my life. I will be pitied and fawned over, used to soothe the conscious of those caring for me. It is in the nature of some to take advantage of a situation. If we continue to offer better situations for free, will the acceptance of these situations increase ? I'm thinking that just very well may be the case. How many people do we have today receiving " assistance " for the various government agencies ? Thing is that " assistance " is the only thing providing " subsistence " for these folks. So isn't it a bit of a misnomer then ? Are these folks not then wards of the state ? They are not " homeless " folks for the most part, although some play that part.
 It's a bit of  problem. What to do. Do we need to do anything ? The perception is the ones living on the street are homeless. They are there by circumstance not by choice. Are they hobo's ? No, I don't think they are. Were the hobo's replaced by migrant workers and illegal aliens ? They are the ones that are doing those odd jobs the hobo's once did. In the big cities we have day workers. They stand around in certain locations and get hired to do a job a day. They are like stationary hobo's ! They may or may not be homeless.
 Well, like I said, it would make an interesting term paper for a sociology student. To me, it is just a passing thought. My wife just sent a dish of stuffed shells to help feed the homeless living in the shelter. If you're living in a shelter are you really homeless ? I rent my place so it's not really my home, am I homeless ? I don't own a yacht or rent one, so I'm yachtless ! Strange no one is clamoring to help rectify that situation. Maybe that'll change in the future.
 Now this whole blog is meant for entertainment only. I am not condemning the homeless or making any negative statement in their regard. It is merely a question I asked myself some time ago and revisited again today. When did we go from Hobo's to homeless ? I remember one man in particular. I didn't think of him as a hobo or a homeless person. He was just a person that lived in a box in the woods and liked to drink a lot. Yes, he was called the town drunk by some. Yes, he would ask for money, but never in an aggressive or threatening way. Yes, he would work odd jobs to feed his habit, what we now call an addiction. The local Police would incarcerate him come cold weather, went to the county jail. He was released in the spring and would resume his habit. He was a pleasant enough fellow and stayed to himself for the most part. Did he need saving ? Maybe, maybe not. I think he made his choice and he was entitled to that. Never knew him to hurt anyone in any way. He looked like I imagined a hobo to be, without the cloth sack on a stick and bowler hat. He didn't ride the rails though. His home was a cardboard box. He wasn't homeless in my eyes, lived right across the street from the supermarket as a matter of fact. He could be found there most of the time. If he wasn't there check the cemetery. He might be visiting his friend there, sharing a sip a wine with him. I don't know whatever happened to him but I hope he was placed next to that friend. Homeless no more.