I wish the homeless were neat and tidy and less in the way of sidewalk foot traffic. I thought about the wordy phrase for a title. Too often I see disgusting piles of trash including discarded junk food wrappers that could’ve been properly tossed in rubbish bins. Dogs tied to poles next to any flat item that can serve as a tent. People laying around at all hours of the day not appearing to improve the patch of public land they’ve appropriated, much less themselves. There are no public bathrooms so I cannot say the stench of urine is all their fault but does it have to be so concentrated (not a rhetorical question, I want to know)? No way would officials allow these shantytowns in Waikiki. But for those of us off the beaten tourist track, we see all, smell all and walk around the barking dogs which include pit bulls ahomelessness does not grant a pass to be inconsiderate.
I know the first paragraph of this post might seem intolerant but it is not. I have been homeless and I never even sat down on the sidewalk, much less set up a tent or tarp on the sidewalk. I never blocked anyone’s way when they tried to walk down the street, which as a member of the public anyone has the right to do. I never proclaimed that public land such as the sidewalk was mine alone for any length of time no matter how short that amount of time was. And I never made a mess that I left for other people to clean up or to even so much as witness. It is a shame that even one person makes such a terrible mess because it really does give everyone a bad name. When you’re dealing with being in the public eye it is true that one person can ruin it for everyone. And when it comes to the mess left by the homeless Shanty towns there is no truer statement than that. I have seen tent cities that are neat as pins and the area around them is obviously swept, but to a member of the public that is not as understanding it would just simply look like a ramshackle tent that is set up and in the way no matter how neat the sidewalk around that tent is. It is unfortunate that people have nowhere permanent to be, more than unfortunate, tragic really. I am not homeless anymore and that is mostly due to good luck but also due to my insistence that I maintain what I have and not let anyone ruin it for me, not even My Own Worst nature! I wish that people had a way to pick up their stuff during the day and then settle down at night which is what the vast majority of the homeless people do. It is the people that make the semi-permanent sidewalk establishments that sometimes even take up two vertical levels and include furniture from regular housing that make homelessness such a huge problem for everyone and makes people hostile to the existence of those who are less fortunate. Maybe my opinion is not popular with some people but I guarantee you that most people agree with me and as you know from my previous writing I am in no way anti-homeless or anti-poverty. Homeless people are my people. My birth mother was homeless most of her life and when I met her she had just gotten into public housing after living in an alley with her cat where she begged for dollars from pastors by. So I am closely linked to homeless people and that’s why I feel confident when I say I wish it could be done with more class. When you’re already in a bad situation you don’t want to make it worse by giving people a Target they can place right in the center of your forehead so to speak.