Survival Guide to Homelessness

No matter where you go, there you are.

Friday, November 12, 2004


Entertainment options are wider than you might think for those living a mobile lifestyle. Television, music, movies, live entertainment, and activities are not reserved to the housing advantaged.

Movies are obvious. Go when you want to. There were times, lots of times, when I'd seen every movie playing at the movie houses in my county, and had to wait for new ones to come out. Movies get you out of the environment, out of the weather, out of your car, out of your life, and immerse you in story for 112 minutes. Movies are a great way to cool down and relax before you face the next problem solving challenge. Movies are great. Even bad movies are great.

Can't stand to miss an episode of your favorite reality tv show? You'd be surprised how quickly you get over having tv in your life, but occasionally most people get sucked in by must see tv. Don't despair. You've got more options than visiting a friend's television. Laundromats have tvs and no one cares if you change the channel. Hospital waiting rooms frequently have tvs. If anyone asks you why you are in the hospital, say you are with someone who is already being seen. Or tell the truth. You're homeless and wanted to watch tv. Hospitals are in the compassion business. You might even get one of those cruddy hospital meals out of the deal. You've just got to size up the person questioning you. Airports and bus stations have tvs often enough. Of course bars have tvs, but I suggest you buy the coca cola and leave out the rum.

If what you want is something on HBO, get a motel room. I once decided I just had to see the new George Carlin special. Thirtyfive dollars got me a nice warm room, a shower, and HBO for the night. George, sadly, wasn't in top form, but the shower and the bed were nice, and I didn't have to feel deprived.

There are battery powered camp televisions. Owning one means you have to cart it around, though.

Radio, Music, and Comedy
Comedy saves lives. A walkman and a few good comedy tapes can keep you sane. Laughter keeps you happy, keeps you healthy, and helps you forget about the cold. I like comedy.

Music is good, too. Invest in something that will play some music and some comedy for you. You will be glad you did.

I also like talk radio. Nothing will help you forget your own problems like thinking about someone else's problems. Why else do you think Jerry Springer was such a success?

Homelessness does not remove you from pop culture. You choose what entertainment you like, and go get it. It's available everywhere. Don't forget museums, amusement parks, concerts, and community theater for a change of pace, either. It can even be fun to go down to the courthouse and watch a trial. People say some stupid stuff in traffic court. That's always good for a laugh.


At 5:37 PM, Blogger Rose said...

I remember being in landlord/tenant court one time helping someone with their tenant problem and was just amazed at how many people were in the courtroom. One could definitely make a "day" out of it.

At 5:07 PM, Blogger Frank said...

I may not be homeless, but I do enjoy spending time by myself when I have the chance. One of my favorite activities is reading, and any public library ought to help out there. I'd imagine it's also a decent place to get out of the elements for free.

A couple weekends ago, I was spending some time in a coffee shop that provided free wireless internet access, and wound up having a good chat with a homeless guy who'd managed to acquire a decent used laptop and spent a lot of time at this place. If you have the funds and/or luck to come across a great deal, there's no limit to the things you can learn and how you can interact with other people online. A less portable alternative might again be computers at a public library.

BTW, I probably never would have talked to this guy had I not been regularly reading your blog, but since I did, I got to meet an interesting person. You've helped me to understand that not every homeless person is mentally unstable or hopelessly drug-addicted, and that's helped to enrich my life in a small way.

At 7:35 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Thanks for that, Frank. You made me smile.

At 8:46 PM, Blogger Jeremy Dunck said...

If possible, please set up a link to your archives.

I had some trouble finding a link back to the "Cool Publisher" post, which I wanted to check for your reply about making copies.

I'm not that familiar with Blogger, or I'd try to be more helpful.


At 10:45 PM, Blogger temac said...

I'd like to echo Frank's comments in a small way. The other day, coming out of the train station some guy was playing a recorder. I gave a him a buck, but this time didn't throw it at his hat. Instead I handed it to him and said thanks. Later, walking with two of my kids near the local college campus, the homeless guy who often sweeps the street smiled and said hi. I also smiled back and said hi. I really should have known better by now, but basically, the conversation we are having here is why.

People fear the homeless. Fear is the source of hatred. Hatred leads to the desire to hurt and wrong.

Thanks for pointing out that nobody, even the homeless, deserves to be the target of someone else's fears. Look forward to reading more.

At 8:05 AM, Blogger Marke said...

So, what's coming next? Everyday I am hopeful that there will be some new content here...


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