The Scott Shaw Blog Be Positive

Room Without a View

The homeless, or I guess it is more politically correct these days to say the unhoused, crisis has really grown here in Los Angeles and in many places around the country and across the globe. With the massive influx or people seeking a better life, via claiming refugee status on our boarders, you can see news footage of people sleeping on the streets in many Southwestern, boarder towns and as far north as places like New York City where these people have been transported to.
Certainly, homelessness is nothing new. Go to India and it rampant. But, in some cases, they have a better take on it. Become a holy man, a sadhu, and it is one of the greatest austerities to be homeless. An individual is revered for it. For most, however, this is not a desired end goal.
I remember the first time I took notice of mass homelessness in Tokyo. I believe it was in 2002 and there were rows of people’s cardboard boxes lining some of the subway tunnels. Being Japan, it was all so organized, however. There were men’s shirts neatly hanging on hangers upon the side of their cardboard box shelters and things like that. As time as went on, you began to see, in the autumn, spring, and summers months, unhoused people in small encampments in some of the Tokyo parks. The problem has continues to grow.
Back in the ‘60s, if a person was on the road, hitchhiking across the country they were considered a true rebel, someone to be looked up to. At least by those of us who were into such things as the counterculture and the like.
Now, there are all these places where the homeless have congregated. They are filled with trash, while people are shitting and pissing on the sidewalks. It is not pretty. It has caused a lot of problems.
But, to the point… There is this one African-American lady that I frequently see. Well, better put, I often times drive past where she sits. What she does is she sets up one of those foldout patio chairs and she sits with her belongs on this one corner. Sometimes she extends an umbrella to protect her from the sun. I see her there all hours of the day. At night, I have no idea where she goes?
She has been doing this for a long time, at least a couple of years. She is obviously unhoused. But, for whatever reason, she has chosen this boring corner on a boring urban street, and there she sits all day, every day. Why, I have no idea?
Over in places like Venice, there have been large homeless encampments that have grown along the boardwalk and out onto the beach. Every now and then the city, (or whomever), gets together and clears them out. Out to where is the question? But, I get setting up camp in Venice. It’s a cultural hotspot. It always has been. There’s a lot of people, public bathrooms, and showers. Plus, there’s a lot of places to find food. Moreover, you’re right there on the water. The ocean is right in front of you. There’s something understandable about all of that. But, for this lady to set up in the middle of an urban wasteland; why?
There’s always the promises people and government officials make to help the unhoused. The newest mayor of L.A. made all of these guarantees, promising in her campaign to get these people off of the street and into housing. It has equaled very little. But, what can you expect? She’s a politician.
I don’t know what the answer is. I always thought that if you end up homeless you may as well kill yourself because there probably is no way back. But, some people seem to like it. Every now and then, on the news, they interview one of the unhoused and they talk about having done it for years. …That they don’t want to pay rent, etc…
I don’t know???
What I do know, is that there is a corner. A very boring corner in a very boring part of the city. On that corner a woman lives her life. Doing what, I have no idea? But, there she is, doing it nonetheless. Is she a sadhu, a holy person? I don’t know? Maybe. Or, has she simply given into her fate. Choosing to accept it and live her days as best as she can. If nothing else, I guess that’s a fairly holy way to encounter life.