Saturday, March 08, 2014
PEOPLE OF THE BUSHES----WHAT'S TO BE LEARNED
SENSIBLE HOBOS--VAGRANTS---HOMELESS FOLKS SHOULD LIVE IN YUMA---DURING THE WINTER. Because they can! Right here---within a mile of me in every direction--is Hobo heaven in the winter. Warm weather, free camping, accessible water and food, and assorted charity services are within walking distance. And to put frosting on their cake: A convenient train rolls sloooowly through every 45 minutes or so. Easy enough to hop aboard and go elsewhere to escape summer's heat. And thus for a hundred years Yuma has been hobo heaven. I'll show you!
I've shown you this guy's house of sticks on another post. I come again---note that his pile of stuff has increased.
I bring Wayne Wirs with me this date---note the additional security measures: lockable gate.
Some days later I intercept the builder/owner---meet Glen---on his way to work. He earns $8 an hour waving a sign. He remembered me---we chatted awhile. He represents the best of the bush people: Has built a home---keeps pets--earns a living--is intelligent. This day he briefly explained the bell shaped curve theory as it applies to homeless people.
This is an old lady whiling away the day in nearby Winterhaven---did not discover her lair.
I told this guy he looked like Geronimo. He seemed pleased.
This cute lady emerged from the bushes one day---could not find her camp.
This guy only comes here to sleep---has a good tarp for rain protection.
I followed this trail
To this camp. Owner gone. As you can see---their stuff is highly vulnerable to theft.
See that bicycle trail? It circles around and enters an opening in that patch of trees. I followed it ...
to this camp. Nobody home.
Took this shot into his tent. See that book? It's John Updike's TOWARD THE END OF TIME. Resolved to come talk to this guy.
And I did! Meet Larry---A very amiable and interesting fellow. Retired---enjoys solitude--flies in from New York each year---stays till April---then flies home--leaving his bike and camping stuff here. Spends his time reading, enjoying his solitude, visiting the library and interesting sites. He has the means to live conventionally----just likes this style.
Visited this camp in the bushes---the smallest of them all---tucked away in the willows.
It belongs to this very tall guy. Brad and I pass him almost every morning on our walk. Have not gotten his story. We see him sitting alone on a rock--sipping coffee.
One day a few miles away, I saw this guy.
Of course I engaged him. Said he has everything he needs in those bundles---is in no distress---just enjoys seeing the country. Quizzed more deeply he told me that wherever he goes the cops check him out --said he didn't mind.
Took this shot a few nights ago---a middle age lady lives in her minivan--parking at the casino at night--spending her days in the parks.
One day I went upriver a mile or so and discovered this wikieup frame along the banks of the Colorado River. Someone once lived here awhile.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: I have many other examples of bush people but this is a fair sample.
Here's what I think about this low-end lifestyle:
1. It's not the worst way to live: Welfare hotels and Missions are worse. To live in the grip of religious people or bureaucrats is lowest-- because they provide no sense of freedom or self reliance. Many of the bush people have sampled them---and said no thanks.
2. There are bushes everywhere that you can pitch your tent in. Anyone can buy a fairly comfortable house/tent for under $50. There is no good excuse for wretchedness or dreadful discomfort. No one need live in the rain. (Once I lived in the bushes near Arlington, Wa. for a week---enjoyed myself---made friends.
3. The most surprising discovery is that bush people don't often camp together for the company and protection it would offer. The six camps nearest me did not socialize with the others. "Hobo Jungles" it seems are fading away.
4. One can live well in the bushes for $100 a month.
I predict that one day we will pay people to not work----JUST LIKE WE PAY FARMERS NOT TO FARM. Mechanization has fulfilled its promise----there are not enough jobs to go round. Let's pay people to get out of the work force---BUT NOT MUCH----saaay 3 to 4 hundred a month to willing mavericks who promise not to have kids and live the free life---just bumming around.