Okay. You’ve made the decision to be homeless. I get it. No job to worry about. Cool. No mortgage, no car, no pesky room-mates or family members to argue with in the house. Peace at last. You’re just going to spend your time in the great outdoors. All of your time. Every minute of your time. Outside. In the elements. Rain or shine. Hot or freezing cold. Alone. Should be fun, right?
It’s raining today. It’s going to rain all day and all night. Me–I’m going inside, but you? You chose to live outside, remember? So, maybe you can just go to a shelter and stay dry. Actually, no you can’t. You have to be out of the shelter by 7:30am along with your 400+ temporary shelter-mates–rain or shine. How ’bout a library? Nope. Not an option. Okay, maybe you just find a doorway, or some steps, or maybe a bridge underpass. Shit. None of this sounds like fun anymore.
Face it. Some days it’s going to rain while you’re out here. I’d be wary of going under a bridge to stay dry. You weren’t there first, and the folks that were aren’t very welcoming. Seeking shelter under a bridge is a great way to get your ass kicked, get mugged, raped if you’re a woman, or killed. Beware of the people under the bridge.
You’re just going to have to tough it out. There’s going to be a downside to each and every rainy day. Here it is. You’re going to get wet. So are your clothes. So are your shoes. So are your socks. No problem, just change clothes, right? Wrong. You’re homeless and you don’t have a spare pair of anything. By the way, you’re going to stay wet long after the rain has stopped.
Staying wet starts to get to you after a while–especially your feet. No matter what the temperature, your feet feel cold and they get swollen. And you have to keep walking so that you don’t get arrested for loitering. ( Funny how that works. I could stand in the same spot all day long without a cop even noticing me, but you can’t–you’re homeless, and cops don’t like homeless people. They like to arrest homeless people.)
You can feel the blisters starting to form. Your shoes, which weren’t the right size to begin with because you got them from a mission, start to get really heavy. It’s a labor to walk. Shit, this hurts. Don’t worry. After you’ve been out here for a while the blisters will turn to calluses. Today, your feet and legs will just get numb and they’ll stay that way as long as your shoes, socks and pants are wet–usually a couple of days.
Your pants are wet up to your knees. Splash!! That’s what you get for walking too close to the road. Drivers love to splash homeless. Now you’re soaked. Sucks being homeless today.
This is exactly why I carry around a bag full of dry socks. They’re $6 bucks for a bag of 10 at Walmart. I get the white ankle socks. I give them directly to the homeless, but I don’t want you to necessarily do that. It can be dangerous. Instead, give them to a mission or a shelter or to me.
This one kind gesture will make someone’s life suck a little bit less–even if for a couple of hours.
I invite your comments.