You’ve probably never been homeless. And neither had I. Until I was.
Being homeless sucks. It sucks in all kinds of ways you could never imagine until you’ve been there. And it’s nothing like being one of those hoboes old movies used to depict; the plucky, kind-hearted street philosopher type, sort of like the defunct Hobo Joe’s restaurant kind of hobo.
Imagine you’re homeless and you want a cot or bed to sleep in for the night. Simple right? Lots of shelters and places for the homeless, we see ‘em on the news during the holidays when someone spends their Thanksgiving handing out turkey and shit. But no… Not simple at all. So for your reading pleasure, I will excerpt something I wrote when I personally was homeless:
"I’m standing at the counter, waiting for a bed, when they ask me for ‘proof of homelessness.’ I’m thinking: If I’m talking to your shelter-running ass at 7 in the morning, looking for any place at all to sleep, next to Crackhead Joe over there, I gotta be fuckin’ homeless, right? What the fuck is proof of homelessness, anyway? Do we gotta pay like a membership due, join the homeless union or some shit? Do they check our feet for calluses like fuckin’ horses hooves, or stick a GPS tracker up our ass?"
I mean seriously, do people think that anyone who has any other place to go will stand in line for 3 or 4 hours, just to get a ticket for a one night cot? Maybe just as, what? a fun vacation? a break from staying at the Ritz? a new extreme sport?
"Thrills, Chills and Spills! Dodge knife-wielding hos, the perpetually bleeding man with open sores and sleep next to the guy with a mouth that smells like an open sewer. Pick crack bags out of your bed and watch people shit in public!"
Anyway, I did manage to carve out a little routine, score a bed for 30 days (because that’s how long it takes to fix being homeless) and sleep in till the luxurious hour of 5:15 am. Every morning I would wake up, get kicked out of the shelter and wade my way through the lovely stench of piss and cheap weed to meet the new day with hope and optimism.
Unexpectedly, however, I also found the ultimate realization of Bill Gates’ dream:
“When Paul Allen and I started Microsoft over 30 years ago, we had big dreams about software,” recalls Gates. “We had dreams about the impact it could have. We talked about a computer on every desk and in every home.”
Right and left, I found people with no desk and no home, but - you guessed it - a computer. And wireless internet. And on line dating accounts. And business websites.
I had no idea.
Interesting side note:
It turns out a Hobo Joe’s does still exist! Run, I imagine, by people so clueless you have to love them. Here’s the address:
Hobo Joe’s Coffee Shop
660 E Mingus Ave, Cottonwood, AZ
Go there and marvel for me. And then turn to someone and say:
"Brother, can you spare a dime?"
Or maybe don’t. Because Arizona is a gun totin’ state
And even better, it turns out the chain didn’t just die a deserved death because of its outrageous name, but because of embezzlement, a car bomb and the mafia. No, I’m not kidding… I hope you’re as happy as I am about this. Look it up. I read it on the internet. It must be true.