Blown tires and ‘the homeless’

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Strange trip to town yesterday to get my town business taken care of.  A guy was telling me about a bunch of ‘homeless people’ living down behind the Kerrville Public Library and the Guadalupe River, and I moseyed down for a looksee.  Middling surprising.

Kerrville’s a fairly wealthy, relatively small community filled with mostly retirees from government, military, and top drawer private sector.  It has golf courses the way most small towns in Texas used to have churches…. one-per-street-corner.  The rest of the population mostly makes do fetching and carrying, ringing up cash-registers to fill the needs of the golf-coursers.  Ingram used to be a different town a dozen miles down the road, but now it’s indistinguishable from Kerrville except for the population being part of the old-timers and people working to make life better for the rich retirees.

But here, out-of-sight in the midst of all this resides a colony of ruffled, smelly people sleeping on the grass and under the bridge over the Guadalupe.  A cursory look would number them somewhere between 50 and 100.  A good many do their washing up and hanging around in the library to get cool now, warm when it’s cold.

Not a homogenous group in any way I could see.  Some are the usual ‘homeless’ stereotype in the larger urban areas, some younger, some drugees and alcoholics, some maybe ghetto types, and some you wouldn’t spot as any of this, just seeing them on the street.

Evidently the Kerrville city government’s getting enough complaints about it to cause them to try to figure out how they can drive them off to somewhere else where they won’t be a nuisance.

I’ve never been comfortable with the word, ‘homeless’ as a means of placing people into a tribal stereotype.  The emphasis on the structure a person dwells in as a tribal name is just too damned lots-of-what-I-wish-different-about-America-disease.  The straight fact is that every single one of us has a few thousand generations of ancestors who lived in similar homes to the ones these people sleep under, minus the library. 

And the names we give our ancestors are peasants, serfs, nomads, hunter-gatherers, the whole range of words describing people who weren’t aristocrats, struggled to stay alive any way they could.  People who were fetching and carrying for the aristocrats and starving/freezing-to-death-doing it.  Filthy, stinking peasants, serfs, nomads, scratching out a living any way they could, stalking the game animals in the rich-man forests and getting hanged for it, or wandering around grubbing for nuts, plants and meat varmints they could eat because they hadn’t advanced far enough to have aristocrats.

What those people used to be was tramps, hobos, beggars, derelicts, which was nearer the truth, but still didn’t cover the subject.  That place between the river and library is a hobo jungle minus a railroad track.  But I don’t think the people living that life can qualify by any stereotype.  For instance, my long-time-ago post about Stephen Schumpert, a guy I grew up with:

Could you choose to live on the street?

 If the cats all croaked on me I think I might like to try that for a while to flesh out my life experience while I still have some.

Anyway, I was thinking about all this as I drove home when I blew out a tire on the RV…. another inside-rear.  Sounded a lot like a shotgun when it went.  After examining it I decided to nurse it home instead of trying to change it on the road. 

The cost of a new tire’s going to set me back about a month in my best laid plans, and trying to get the RV off  the ground high enough to change it’s going to be a day spent in hard labor.  Haven’t decided whether  to try to nurse it back to Kerrville and let one of the working-for-a-living serfs and peasants at the WalMart or Discount Tire do the work.

Maybe instead of ‘the homeless’ a better word to describe the colony of people down between the library and the river would be, ‘the blown tires’.

I sort of like that.

Old Jules

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16 responses to “Blown tires and ‘the homeless’

  1. This is a large segment of the new america. I think I would prefer that group down by the river to those fighting their way down the freeway to jobs they don’t like to pay for lives they aren’t sure they like all that much, either. You’ve made me realize we are all tires wearing away our tread…

  2. “Blown tires”, now I like that analogy. Makes sinse to me.

  3. I have a friend who lives in a tent down by an urban creek. One day I told him, “You are not homeless! You have a really awesome home down here” (of which I was actually kind of envious). He has a great setup even with a solar panel to run his laptop from which he writes on “Homeless in Fort Worth” on blogger. Still he is to the age where he would like a more comfortable (out of the heat) type of dwelling. But I hate referring to him as homeless. He is so much more to us than this.

  4. Why must we label everything and everybody?

  5. The fallacy of house=home. Some folks are homeless in their palaces; I’m pretty sure I’d never be homeless if I had only what I carried in one hand.

  6. One of my brothers lived in the street and in shelters, occasionally in a small apartment, all of the days of his adult life. He told me he liked to be free. I understood it and I respected it. When he died his possessions would have fit in a shoebox. Stuff is just stuff.

    • elroyjones: Except cats. Cats ain’t stuff. J

      • Stuff doesn’t breathe and if it starts breathing it’s time for me to move on.
        I saw a very unusual cat today, a cat with a sense of humor and almost curly fur, like no cat I’d ever seen before. My husband gave him a little scratch under the chin, which he liked, then I gave him one quick stroke which he promptly stretch/wiggled off. We looked at the cat and laughed and I swear that cat smirked before he walked off.

  7. Living as I have these last 10 years in my tent by the creek I have come to see that I can be technically homeless and still be comfortable. But using the term “homeless” to profile people is not only wrong but insulting. We live as we do for our own reasons. Not all of us are “good” nor are all of us “bad”. We are just human.

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