Homelessness Defined

 

Like many of you, I always assumed the people I saw at nearly every Orange County intersection was homeless. After a little research I know it’s more complex than one word. For the moment I’ll address my own situation and set aside those with mental issues which prevent them from merging into mainstream society. To my knowledge, I have no mental impairments, though I do tend to over-analyze issues until I arrive at a solution or at least a mildly amusing thought. I do a lot of wondering, “Why?”. Wondering why is a fucking horribly paying job by the way. To date I’ve never said, “Why the hell can’t banks get remotely close to the correct temperature with their time/temperature signs?”, and had someone reply, “My God that’s genius, Son! Genius! Here’s ten bucks.” OK I’ve digressed enough. On to the point…

“Homeless” is essentially being without an established residence; nowhere to lay your head at night which isn’t temporary. People who go from motel to motel are homeless. I am in this category. I have been in various motels for over a year, with only a brief 2-month respite which recently ended. The motels have ranged from acceptable to dangerous and dilapidated. It wasn’t unusual to hear fights going on regularly. The police department had so many visits they should have opened a substation in the parking lot to save time. I had more than one 3 AM knock at my door which required explaining to the pock-marked addict that JJ no longer occupied my room, and I couldn’t hook her up either. At night you definitely watched your step because walking the dog also entailed making sure you didn’t step on a used syringe, needle attached. I’m pretty sure at one point the roaches were going to go on strike for better conditions. I was at this Shangri-La for about 5 months. Yeah, good times. Lest you think I exaggerate, um, no. I think 5 photos should convince you.

6′ from my door, Room 122 at the Meth Inn.
The one time I dared to ask housekeeping for clean towels, this was the result.

 

No Motel Hell is complete without the parking lot used condom!
At least this syringe was capped. Considerate addicts are a rarity.
The photo which almost had my friend calling the Health Dept.

 

Convinced? Thought so.

Now at the bottom of the Homeless Scale is “Unsheltered”. THIS is what I had always assumed “homeless” meant. Unsheltered is without any type of shelter. No house, apartment, hotel, or motel. Often a most restless sleep is done on a bus bench, behind a restaurant next to a dumpster, or near a dryer vent when the weather turns colder. I am always one day away from unsheltered. I write in the morning around 5 AM – 7 AM from Starbucks, head back to the motel, walk Cracker (my rapidly aging dog who was recently attacked), and then around 8:30 I begin driving, delivering delicious meals to people who wouldn’t tip if I was also handing them next week’s Lotto numbers. This has been my existence every single day for the past 11 months. I had 2 days when I did not drive, and they were to work on film sets, and one of those days I drove when I got back from the shoot. There is no choice; this is a riddle that neither myself nor anyone I know, has been able to solve. I’ll explain after I introduce you to Cracker…

Cracker pre-homeless
A nearly blind and deaf Cracker, post-attack from a pit bull and it’s friend. The cunt owner claimed they were service dogs but got excited.

So here are the questions I get asked.

You’re smart with mgmt. experience. Why don’t you get a better job? Good question, so let’s do a little math. My daily nut is a minimum of $102 ($65 motel, $15 gas, $11 food, $11 cigs), and that rate can go up by as much as $30 on weekends or holidays, and this is during off-season. During tourist season I have almost no chance and it’s most likely when I’ll reacquaint myself with the back seat of the Camry. But I digress…So, 30 days x $102 = $3060 (in reality it’s closer to $3300 with weekend/holiday rates factored in, but for argument’s sake, we’ll go with $3060). That’s what I must clear in order to stay sheltered. A regular job will take out taxes of at least 23%, so $3060 divided by .77 is $4000 (approximately) x 12 months = $48,000. There is the target, $48K/year. So I go through the interview process, and let’s say I’m hired. If I begin work immediately there will be at least a 1-2 week lag before the first payday. Think the Meth Inn will just let me stick around without paying for 2 weeks? Me either. And if the ultimate goal is to find an apartment, add another $2500 to what must be earned over the daily nut to get into nearly any apartment in LA/OC. And because of CA tenancy laws, I MUST get out of my room every 28 days. Lastly that’s IF nothing unusual happens (car repairs, illness, etc.). Not as simple a solution as you thought, eh? Don’t feel bad. It’s the first thing I thought of too, about ten months ago.

Why don’t you get rid of Cracker? Save a few $. Haha. Fuck you. For the record, people have asked Cracker the same question about me. “Why don’t you get a new owner?” The difference is, Cracker gives pause for thought first, the bastard.

Why not move to a different area? Really good question. To move anywhere requires a U-Haul (U-Haul, feel free to send me some ad money for the free plug from the homeless dude) and a car transport. Let’s choose Phoenix as an example. Minimum cost for truck, loaders x 2, plus a new storage facility: $1600. One, I don’t have $1600 sitting around. Two, if I do somehow get to Phoenix, motels there are still going to be around $45/day, saving me $15 per day. BUT driving there pays less than in LA, so best case scenario is I come out about $5 ahead, and I’m out $1600 in moving fees. Nice try though…

There are many more possibilities. Feel free to suggest with a comment. I seriously doubt you’ll come up with something I haven’t thought of and/or tried in the past year. Lest you think I have a defeatist attitude, it’s quite the opposite. I have a realist attitude, but it took me the better part of a year watching some pretty good savings dwindle away before I adopted the “real” part. I know I waited too long before taking necessary steps. Time will tell if this was a fatal error, but I think I’ll come back from this. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be bothering with this site.

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