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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

.. Starring Yvonne DeCarlo as Homeless Woman #1

The homeless are leaving Minneapolis.

And I am both relieved and sorry to see them go. 

They’re on the street, on the bus, belongings stuffed into duffel bags, garbage bags, lashed to dollies and carts with bungee cords and hope. 

I wonder about the homeless.  I want to ask them, “What happened?  Did you lose your home in a fire?  To the economy?  To addiction?  Did you burn your bridges?  For cryin’ out loud, what happened to your bridges?”

Could the same thing happen to my bridges? 

And that’s what the homeless do:  they make you think, about frailties, about sleep, about safety.  They’re the ones whose pain is visible, but many of us walk the line between being able to contribute to a food shelf and requiring the assistance of one.  Add that knowledge to the dwindling heat/light/color of the rapidly approaching winter and the realization that you need to get away, away from the eye-ball freezing temperatures inexorably creeping in, and we’ve got a Cecil B. DeMille-style exodus.

To paraphrase the bartenders, you may not have a home to go to, but you’re not going to want to stay here.

In some ways, I’ll miss the color an outdoor population provides. 

I’ll miss the toothless, spacey grin of the man on the corner, a man who does not seem upset by his lot in life.

I’ll miss the man with the long black hair, the man who took his shirt off and laid in the grass, the sun bouncing off a golden, hairless chest who exclaimed with a wink, “Ever been with a bum?”

And hopefully I’ll miss the man who insists on playing the recorder, empty hat at his feet, the recorder, known in my childhood as a “flutophone”, being played by a man who believes that the trill covers a multitude of sins, including an utter lack of musical talent.  His rendition of “Three Blind Mice”, able to stun you tone deaf from a block away, is his go-to piece.  That one, plus, so help me, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Jingle Bells”, covered with flowery notes not always found in the key of the song, slide into one ear, eat a number of brain cells, and slide out the other, leaving a ring around the inside of the skull akin to the one left around a bathtub after washing something particularly filthy.

I would like to miss him, but how can I miss him if he won’t go away?

First the geese.  Now the homeless. 

Soon Minnesota will be full of nothing but Minnesotans.

46 comments:

Eva Gallant said...

A vivid reminder of what's coming your way....and ours, too.

Susan in the Boonies said...

I never thought about this seasonal phenomenon that you must experience each winter, but I'm sure it's as predictable as the flight of the geese. I just think it's amazing that they come back again. Although...who wants to spend a summer homeless in Houston, after all?

Simply Suthern said...

LOL, Yvonne DeCarlo. That brings back memories. Oh, Not of being homeless. Reminds one of a stroll down 1313 Mockingbird lane.

Living out in the sticks we dont see many homeless until we take the wagon into town.

Denise said...

They all come to Tucson. I see many of them at the bus stops several times a day.

They scare the hell out of me. Not them personally. Most are harmless. But the thought that could be me one day in this Right To Starve state of Arizona.

Pearl said...

Eva, the face-numbing cold approacheth!

Susan, As harsh as MN is in the winter is how beautiful it is in the summer. We're a pretty liberal area with a live-and-let-live attitude about a lot of things. As long as someone's not in your face about something, we're cool.
Or maybe the homeless just have a lot of relatives in Minneapolis. :-)

Simply, I am glad that you've not been homeless. :-) Am enjoying the idea of you taking the wagon into town. I'm sure the country doesn't have too many homeless -- they stand out more, no transportation, no shelter. If you're gonna be homeless, ya gotta do it in a city...

Suze said...

'I would like to miss him, but how can I miss him if he won’t go away?'

This line transcended an already excellent post. I'm liking this blog, P.

Pearl said...

Denise, I hear you. I know that some of the homeless have addiction problems or mental illnesses, but what if you never had much to begin with? What if the tornado took your house and everything you owned and you just never managed to get it back together enough to buy another car, rent a place? The older I get, the more I wonder about how people got to where they ended up...

Pearl said...

Suze, and I'm liking that you are liking it!!
:-)

Suze said...

Just checked out your profile. Hadn't thought of Morris Day and the Time in ages. (Jungle Love ...)

I'm a fan of MGMT, haven't seen them on many people's profiles.

Joshua said...

Don't knock the guy with the recorder. He's probably just an alien visitor who uses the recorder to send out those signals that eat your brain cells and return to him for sustenance. As you probably guessed, brain cells taste like chicken.

PikaPikaChick said...

I always wondered what would happen if Recorder Guy ever accidentally wandered into Alley Trumpet Guy's turf. A recorder/trumpet duel? An old fashioned bum fight? A single knowing nod from each man as each stays out of the other's way?

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Our homeless stay year round...there are shelters and soup kitchens and drop in centres....Some of our winter days are pretty bad and I often wonder at night where they are and if they are keeping warm.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I wonder why they migrate north to that cold climate in the first place, now.

R. Jacob said...

I was hanging out at a school library one evening waiting for class and noticed a man, not a student, trying to blend in. It was a cold day, no one paid him any mind. I thought of him when I wrote this.
http://rjacobpostpoeticmuses.blogspot.com/2010/01/cold-and-alone.html

ICKY said...

Great, that means the population down here is going get a lot more colorful and fragrant.

vanilla said...

Verily, even many of the older Minnesotans will be with us in South Texas very soon!

Instant flashback when I read the title: I have an image of Yvonne DeCarlo burned eternally into my mind's eye, for I, as a hormonal eighteen-year old saw her performing a somewhat "risque" dance (by 50s standards) in a film the title of which I have long forgotten.

laughingmom said...

The difference between my family and a homeless one was the fact that we had insurance. Having left the smoldering remains with just my family and the clothes we were wearing, I am very aware of how quickly life can change. I hope that your MN homeless are just going to warmer climates.

nixabn said...

There but by the grace of God go you or I.

Shelly said...

Just as the geese have been making their way down here, so have the homeless. I've often wanted to find out where they come from and what their stories are, but call me chicken (or smart).

jenny_o said...

Exquisite lines; how do you keep coming up with them? Never mind, I'm just glad you do.

Yvonne de Carlo - had to wikipedia that name but then the light bulb brightened :)

The Jules said...

Well, have you ever been with a bum?

Roshni said...

lol at Joshua's comment!

Wow, that was awkward said...

Now some guy on a horse in warm weather states is riding around screaming, "the homeless are coming, the homeless are coming!"

willfulresemblance said...

I like the homeless - the real ones, not the ones who pretend and panhandle their way into 400 bones a day. The cranky ones also get me - but the ones that allow me to buy them a meal and listen to their story - them I like and Chicago is full of them.

Belle said...

It is a good idea to go south for the winter. Our Canadian homeless can't do that, but we have lots of shelters and free food for them. My hubby and I had to sleep in our car once when he was out of work. Had to clean up in gas stations. Hubby finally talked a motel into taking us in until he got paid from his new job. It was nice of them to do that.

Pearl said...

Pretty busy today but had to stop in. Funny, kind, and thoughtful, that's what you guys are. Every day I am glad that someone talked me into writing every day, "just to see"...

Teresa Evangeline said...

I was just walking around my yard this afternoon,under an infrequently blue sky and thinking thoughts such as these: what does happen to make life go so horribly awry for some folks? A multitude of possibilities, I suppose. It's scary, thinking that life can turn on a dime, but what's scarier is Minnesota with only Minnesotans. :)

I always enjoy your posts.

Roses said...

I thought that was normal recorder playing?

Ms Sparrow said...

You had a flutophone? Back in the 40's when I was a mere child, we called then tonettes. Years later when my kids were at that age, the psuedo- musical instruments were just called flutes. I never heard them called recorders until much later. It's nostalgic to think that one of those thousands of kids who learned to play the recorder is now doing it for a living!

Crystal Pistol said...

Your homeless (and geese) are flocking to Tucson in droves. They are quite comfy here.

I actually know a homeless man quite well. he goes by the name of Cricket. He chooses to be homeless to make a statement regarding the consuming ways of the world. The sky is his sanctuary (and sometimes the underside of a bridge.)

Denise said...

Since moving to this Right to Starve state, there have been a few times, I've been less than one step away from homeless.

Slum that it may be, I'm thankful to have a ceiling over my head, the electric still on and food in my fridge.

Denise said...

To Wow That Was Awkward, I believe I might have saw Arizona's state senators doing just that the other day.

Esther Montgomery said...

It's less than a breath away from us all.

The Elephant's Child said...

Our winters are nothing like as brisk as yours so the homeless stay year round. Not pleasant for them in the extremes of summer OR winter. And yes, I wonder how it happened and am thankful I am not sharing space with them yet. And perhaps you could pay the man with the recorder a little something to STOP!

Gigi said...

"I would like to miss him, but how can I miss him if he won’t go away?"

May I use a paraphrased version of this line on one or two people I know???

Bodacious Boomer said...

I am confused. It sounds like they're being relocated to an internment camp or are they going to warmer climates for the winter?

aBroad said...

Nothing left but Minnesotans ... hmmmm, what would that be like ?

vanyelmoon said...

It's ok Pearl, I will tell them you said Hi! We should be getting them down here in a few days. Yes, Boomer, they are heading to warmer climes for the winter along with all the snowbirds.

Nuke Girl said...

Do any of the "bums by choice" stay? They do in Michigan... less competition in sub-zero temperatures.

And cheer up, there have to be some interesting people left amongst the Minnesotans to provide blog fuel for the winter fires. :)

HermanTurnip said...

The homeless have all come over to California. They're here for the weather and to occupy every Bank Of America they can find.

Amber Star said...

yep....I have been pretty darn close to being homeless when I was much much younger, but all of us are a few bank failures away from the streets. The streets will be pretty crowded at that time.

Just curious, but how do homeless people get from one part of the country to the other? It takes money to get from Minnesota to Texas or Arizona, at least that is what I've been led to believe. I wouldn't pick up a tidy hitchhiker and sure as heck wouldn't pick up someone who looked like they were homeless somewhere else. The unkempt do not ride with me for they remind me of serial killers even though they may only be cereal killers, but then I might look like a serial killer when I only consume cereal.

I'm getting more and more like that dog in the insurance commercial...the one that is worried about his bone and/or stolen. Actually I love that commercial.

LOLA said...

nixabn, I swear I don't intend to be pissy, but I stay away from the statement about the grace of God because it suggests that if something bad happens to someone, then that person does not have the grace of God. We don't know that.

Someone I Love went to school in England (Cambridge University). She was impressed because when it was cold, people who were designated to get the homeless people to shelters would be out telling the homeless, It's going to be freezing tonight. We need to get you to a shelter.

And they they would transport people to the shelters. Do we have any cities so compassionate?

Love,
Lola

Ian Hawkins said...

Brilliant post :)

Linda O'Connell said...

"Ring around the brain." I can't stop laughing. On a serious note, it bothers me to see these people suffer, no matter why they ended up that way. And yes, most workers are a paycheck away.

Douglas said...

First, LOLA, all of our cities do that. Maybe you just haven;t noticed. Even down here in my little Paradise it gets cold enough to freeze the nasal drippings on a few nights. When those nights are about to hit, churches and schools and city governments seek out the homeless to take to shelters. Some of them refuse to go because they feel the shelters are not safe or because they are suspicious of the motives of the kind hearted people who run the shelters or the people providing the transportation. Paranoia is a regular companion of the homeless.

I like your take, LOLA, on the "grace of God" bit.

Pat said...

I'm wondering what brought the exodus about?
Over here - since the double dip recession, many families are just one step away from being homeless. It's a national tragedy.