The Homelessness Muddle Revisited
I MUST CONFESS TO MY MANY PERSONAL INTERESTS REGARDING THE TOPIC OF HOMELESSNESS. Literally decades after my cross-country hitchhiking adventures (about 9,000 miles’ worth), I discovered that I myself had supposedly once been homeless. At the time, I never thought of it that way, regardless of sleeping under interstate highway overpasses or along roadsides safely out of view from passing traffic. Nor did I think of myself as “homeless” after my abusive father expelled me from the family home at age fifteen (believe me, I was all to happy to leave), or during all those weeks that I slept on the tavern floor where I worked, or when I squatted in a vacant apartment a friend and I illegally occupied during one summer. Nor did I consider myself homeless during the odd night here and there I spent sleeping under shrubbery in the town park, or in a car, or wherever. But according to some definitions, for an eight-year period on and off, I was supposedly homeless. Still, I was never what I regard as a true street person, pushing a stolen shopping cart filled with my worldly possessions. Except for one occasion of panhandling for rock concert ticket money outside of an arena, I never begged for oney on the street. While hitchhiking, I felt I had my home on my back, and more importantly, I was on the move.