Trip across the country

My Brother, may his soul rest in peace, was a real gypsy nomad.  What might be called today a minimalist?  He only owned what he was wearing and a jacket I gave him. He never had a refrigerator, he only had the food he was eating that day. For some reason he liked peanut butter and when he had all his teeth he liked peanuts. His weakness was Cactus Coolers, a soft drink he bought in a can and drank warm.

I do not want in any way to glamorize the gypsy nomadic lifestyle.  Nomads are supported indirectly by  our infrastructure, and socialized populations that exist by taxes, fines, and fees. With that said, the strong support the weak.

Eddie never accepted any type of welfare although he lived in extreme poverty. He never went to the doctor or dentist unless the pain was so sever he could not take it anymore.

He told me that the so called homeless on the freeway exits were mafia like run and well regulated by a few people. There are turf wars continually to protect corners because of the high dollar income.

He also told me about collecting golf balls in golf course lakes.  At night he would raid golf courses by going into the course lake traps and collect golf balls to sell.   Who knew…?

He worked in Las Vegas as a carpet layer when he was younger, telling me about some of the tricks of the trade. Los Vegas is for tourists, not the ones who keep it running.

My favorite story was how he walked across America from Florida to California. He walked across America with no money or food..

One winter day with snow on the ground Eddie was thrown out of the place he was staying. Wearing only the clothes, he had on his back.

I never knew it, but there are networks of transients walking down the highways of America. They leave food, clothing, and other stuff for each other on the road.

While on the road he never asked anyone for anything; people would come up to him and hand him money or food. He told me the angels were watching out for him.

Sleeping in bushes, on cardboard boxes, in truck stop parking lots. People pulled over  trying to give him rides and most of the time he refused. Except for one time when he was so cold he was shivering. An old fat man  ( as he called him), and his son in a old pickup truck asked him if he wanted a ride? After he got in they never said another word. They kept driving down a winding dirt road for a long time. Arriving at a farm house barely lit, the son asked my brother if he needed a place to stay for the night? Eddie agreed so the son took Eddie to a shack behind the farm house. He pointed to the shack and said , “you can sleep here tonight” and turned around and left. Eddie open the door to the shack and found trash and stuff everywhere. It was cold so he decided to stay. After sleeping for a while he heard a noise outside. Getting up half asleep he found the door to the shack was locked shut. He climbed out a bathroom window and ran back to the highway!

After about two months of walking, traveling on the road, he made it back to Homeland, California.

Homeland, California where he lived Homeland is like a time warp. Poverty, characters of every description, combat war veterans, a place where no one asks questions, and everybody knows and helps each other. I think my brother found sanctuary there. Most people who live there do not judge or condemn, and no one goes hungry. My time there was limited to short visits with my brother, this is just my assessment of Homeland.  I don’t believe or have any reason to believe anyone my brother knew was using or dealing drugs; including my brother.

How can we help the homeless?  The short answer is we can’t!

I have firsthand knowledge of homelessness from my own brother’s experiences. Homelessness is circumstantial, brought on by delusional thoughts, romanticized ideas, and cognitive dissonance.

People believe they are capable of attaining their dreams, without planning or financial backing. Kids brought up in dysfunctional families or without a family learn to survive ending up in the street as a matter of not knowing the difference.

The street becomes their family and homelessness a way of life.

Those people are not homeless, they are just not living in a house or apartment like the good citizens would like them to for their taxes, fees, and fines.  Nomads, Gypsies, Bohemians, Van Dwellers, RVers, Minimalists, and anyone else who are not living under contract are homeless.

Loitering, trespassing, soliciting, are somewhat outdated terms that used to mean “hanging around” in a public place without any visible purpose. So, unemployed or underemployed people sitting on a downtown street or lying down in a public park could be loitering. Trespassing means that you are present without permission on private property.

Here is where the problem lays. Homeless becomes a word, or abstraction of the law.  Homeless is subject to interpretation of the viewer; from their perspective.

A crime needs an act and an intent Actus Reus, referring to the physical aspect of a crime, while Mens Rea, refers to the mental aspect or intent to commit a crime.

Jesus was homeless by definition, a nomadic wanderer who lived in poverty. Abraham was a nomadic wanderer and actually a physically successful man who had attained a respectable level of wealth. Both Jesus and Abraham were criminals under our jurisprudence and homeless.