By Max R. Weller
It’s worth repeating — we’re not here to judge others’ souls, but we’re certainly obliged to judge their actions.
In my experience here in Boulder, CO since early 2008, 20% of all those who can be defined as “homeless” in the course of a year are just bums with no respect for themselves, no respect for their fellow man, and no respect for the community. Sadly, these are the ones who get almost all of the media attention, as well as the bulk of support provided by the social services industry (comprised of both government agencies and private nonprofits).
Yes, I’m proud to belong to the 80% who try to behave decently, even while being poor and without a roof over our heads.
Make no mistake, the 20% (cited above) want to drag as many others as possible down with them, into their degrading lifestyle of drinking/drugging, petty crime and serious felonies, self-pity, and endless drama. They despise anybody who challenges their misbehavior, most of all anyone belonging to the 80% (also cited above).
While waiting at the SKIP bus stop in front of King Soopers on Table Mesa yesterday morning, I was accosted by a homeless woman who has been in and out of the Transition Program at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless a few times, and is widely known to her peers as a Drama Queen (DQ). You guessed it, she didn’t like my blog, either. She focused on my own humble circumstances as proof that I was just like her. Now, this woman is the reason that RTD took down one of the two bus stop shelters which used to be at this location, because she was living in one of ’em with all of her junk stuffed into a “borrowed” shopping cart (in many other cities, such bus stop loiterers are subject to being ticketed). Probably, she’d been kicked out of BSH and BOHO for a period because of her drama, or those homeless people seeking shelter in these facilities couldn’t stand her and made their feelings known.
DQ said to me: “I’m going to give you some advice: a lot of people are upset by what you’re writing, so maybe you should quit blogging. You’re talking shit about people and telling lies!” NOT happening, I responded. She added, “You live in a tent.” I corrected her, by pointing out that I don’t even own a tent. Then she snarled, “You’re homeless just like the rest of us.” Yes, I replied, but I don’t act like the bums who hang out in public venues and cause so much trouble; that’s the point, I told her. Then I added: “Do you have a specific criticism about one of my blog posts? Let’s hear it.” A few seconds passed before I chuckled, “I didn’t think so.”
She walked away in a huff, and wouldn’t board the same SKIP bus with me. Thank goodness for small favors.
I can speculate that the bums are lying around Central Park or sitting in Bridge House and blaming the Homeless Philosopher blog for turning the public against their hooliganism, but they give it way too much credit . . .
Let me tell you how the rest of the day turned out.
When I got back to my shady spot in the 4900 block of N. Broadway, and began reading more of The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory, I was treated to banjo-picking on the corner of U.S. 36 by a guy we know as R. He was seeking to pick up some traveling money, which was fine by me. After he left, one of my favorite homeless gals came by to try her luck “flying a sign” there; D. stayed only an hour and didn’t make a lot of cash, but scored two pizzas, one of which she gave to me (it was an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink topping pizza, my favorite).
I spent about an hour and ten minutes in the role of humble beggar, making the modest sum of $14.
When I went over to my campsite, one of the passersby who has become a friend of mine brought me a bag of goodies, including homemade beef/vegetable soup which was still warm, a box of muffins, a large dark chocolate Hershey’s bar, and a $10 bill. This generous man drives an old Ford Ranger pickup, and I would guess he’s a blue-collar worker; like many others of modest circumstances I’ve met on the corner, he’s very kindhearted.
I slept well overnight.
I anticipate sleeping well again tonight.