The more I see of the homeless population in Seattle, the more I think it’s not a lack of resources available to people that are underprivileged. Shelters, soup kitchens, and scant opportunities are available. But why try? Why is it that there are only a few ways to survive in the Americas: become stressfully rich, scrape by while living in massive debt, or live outside the system? Is there any way out of corporate subjugation?
I think most of these people have traded one stress for another.
I can empathize with that because there are certain stresses I will not tolerate, just as I’m sure there are things you will not tolerate. What if the commute, the grind of work, and everything associated with that were something you could not tolerate? Our culture now can enable some people that have worked hard enough and struck the right nerve to become financially independent from corporate meddlings. They are the few lucky ones that have escaped the endless corporate grind.
This argument will always be represented by a former UNIX administrator I met.
I don’t remember his name or anything about him. During college, I volunteered at a computer repair place, and one day after that one of the guys that volunteered there for I guess something to do invited me to the park where he lived. There, I met this UNIX admin. He wasn’t lying. I didn’t know how to articulate the question I would ask now, “why?,” but the impression I got was he was just fed up with the stress of working, paying bills, and being in the system. He chose to escape it.
That came with certain and very real consequences.
This former computer smart-guy could have taken up any of the local resources, got himself cleaned up, and rejoined the workforce to some degree; if he wanted. I see homelessness as true autonomy, outside of the system, which also means leaving the benefits of the system: regular meals, stable shelter, and creature comforts. I think we still have homelessness in the city, and might always see it in larger cities, is because it’s just so expensive to have a reasonably comfortable life in the city.
The barrier of entry for stable housing is increasingly overwhelming.
The debate is always different depending on who I talk to about this issue. Whether jail, psychiatric treatment, or additional resources, I don’t know if there will be a true fix. I think what would help would be decreasing that barrier of entry for dealing with this increasingly stressful reality we all live in, where we are constantly available anytime by phone or email to jump at a moment’s notice to the needs of others, and yet, we are unable to identify let alone tend to our own lingering stresses.
Maybe that’s why some choose to abandon societal stress?
Unless someone is acting erratic or aggressive, I try to politely understand.
What if one additional polite action could guide someone’s way out?
|Sources: My personal experiences|
|Inspirations: Seeing this sign was almost a little cynically amusing, because even if someone had access to a phone, once they adapted to their situation as someone living on the streets, would they really want to, perhaps, return to what made them leave initially? So thinking in that frame of reference made me interested in writing about why people might do what they do.|
|Photo: The sign reads: “No trespassing, no loitering. Call [phone number cut off by barbed wire] for shelter assistance.”|
|Written On: June 10th|
|Last Edited: June 10th|