I’ve been poking around of various travel forums and it’s interesting. Actually, it’s always eye opening. I’m always taken aback when I hear about how litter free the United States is from people in Europe, and I’m always really taken aback when I hear about how litter free over and above that Boston is. I… I guess it is true, and I’m not going to lie that the streets are filthiest on trash day, if it is windy, and there is shit and whatnot flying all over, but otherwise there’s sort of a small steady trickle of… well, now it’s a “ew, discarded mask” there or a “is that glove giving me the finger” here, but it was condom wrappers and cigarette packs before, so… more babies, less lung cancer now? Anyway, yeah, I guess relatively speaking, the visitors are probably correct.
It kind of gives me pause though when people mention the homeless population in cities. Not just Boston. I mean, cities. Hello. There are some cities that this is more visible than others, and in the rest of the country they are just invisible. No, seriously. There is a homeless population everywhere. They are men and women, mothers and fathers and kids. While certainly some have issues with mental health, physical health, and substance use (and those things may or may not have jack shit to do with how they became homeless), some just… ended up here. And given the way things are going with the pandemic, the absolute hamhanded handling of it, and the inevitability that it was always going to claim casualties in the form of livelihoods, lives, and long term health issues, the number of people — families, young and old, used to the struggle or until recently affluent — are going to find themselves with no place to go.
But dammit, aren’t people losing their shit that hotels are housing homeless people (well, yeah. I mean, cities hire out hotels when something happens that displaces a bunch of people or if the housing authority has had some massive back up or influx or whatever…cough, *longislandbridge*). Well, I mean, what the actual fuck? Do they not deserve a place to be during a time of fucking world wide strife? People are simultaneously complaining that people are pooping in the streets (which they did anyway, my friends. They did anyway. Boston put in those self cleaning weird ass round public toilets. I don’t know if they ever opened them. I guess maybe some of them?) as they complain about them being in hotels that aren’t even open to guests anyway. And yes, of course the hotels boot them out during the day, much like the shelters, because of cleaning protocols and especially in hotels, you don’t want to find people have died in a room due to drug use (also the reason why Boston has been slow to open those public toilets. You don’t want to go in the portajohn and find a body. Nobody wants that. You hear, America? Nobody.)
What I am saying is we kind of need to wake up to the idea that we are one. For real. That nothing separates the people white flighting the fuck out of the Upper West Side of New York City because some homeless people were put up in a hotel in their swanky ass neighborhood from the homeless people in their neighborhood. The barista at Starbucks is quite likely homeless because who the hell can work as a barista in a city and pay the rent, and who the fuck wants to commute three hours from New Jersey to work at a goddamn Starbucks? I mean, you do what you gotta. I suppose if that means you run from your problems to the safety of a further out suburb… I mean, eventually you kind of have to face the music that maybe some of your reasons for doing this mean you’re an asshole.
We have problems, for real. I love Stacey Abrams. I heard someone ask her if she was a socialist, and she was like, “Look, I like money. I grew up poor. It sucked.” But you know she isn’t for letting someone die on the street just because they lost a job, or a house, or a leg, or a parent. And the scary thing is there are a lot of people who wouldn’t say it as such, but it comes down to… yeah, no, I don’t care if you die on the street, so long as it isn’t my street. And that’s bullshit, people. It’s bullshit.
If that makes me a socialist for saying such things, then, fuck yeah. I guess so. But I’m with Ms. Abrams. Money is nice. It can’t buy happiness, maybe, but it can sure put some worries to rest that get in the way of pursuing happiness. I don’t have a problem taking one for the team tax wise or… whatever… to bring that end closer to reality. I don’t want for us to be okay with people just not dying on the streets. I’d like us to do more to help keep them from having to live there, because they are our community, too.
Aside: I just noticed when I talk about the act of physically defecating, I say “pooping”, and not “shitting” although I yell “shit” like thirty thousand times a day. Interesting.