I’m Going Home (Soon){4}

The transients are out in full force where I live. There seems to have been a marked increase of them of them lately. I suppose it’s a combination of the poor economic conditions, the leniency of our city towards them in general, and the realization, finally, of decent weather. Every city I’ve ever been to has them, some more than others.

Quite a few of ours are street corner beggars. The ones that stand on busy intersections, with signs, and ask you for help in an ever fascinating variety of ways. Lost my job, evicted from my home, divorced and homeless, war vet, etc. Some have taken to being brutally honest and just asking for money for cigarettes, alcohol and other vices.

On at least two occasions lately I’ve seen older fellows with signs saying “going home” or “I’m going home soon”. I don’t know why, but on first seeing these two I could only wonder what they meant. It should be an obvious statement, but for some reason it didn’t seem so to me. It brought up a bunch of interpretations, the worst of which being the end of the line for them here on this earth.

I don’t know if it’s my age, or too much time on the internet, but my mind increasingly seems to work like a Google search results page. I went from thinking of how different our beggars (backpacks, sleeping bags, pets, etc) are to those that I see in the Philippines, to why would they be going home from Spokane at the first sight of good weather in six months? Was “I’m going home soon” really the same marketing strategy as “Going out of business”, to thinking some of them look better off than me and probably make more money, too.

I also wondered (wandered) if I would feel that I was going home soon when I finally leave for the Philippines, or will I feel like many of our transients and be “homeless”. I’ve lived in my current home over 20 years now. Will I feel like I have left my home? I don’t think so, but I wonder how long it will be, if ever, before I feel that my new home is really home.

Of course the way mind works, or doesn’t, it always starts playing a tune from yesterdays whenever I see or hear a title that fits. Ten Years After wasn’t a band I followed, but who could forget that famous Woodstock rendering of “I’m Going Home”?

Anki Bisaya Phrasebook Flashcards

Some of the signs are very clever, and some are just plain comical. I noted one person, drivng in their car, that stopped and give the beggar a Sharpie. Evidently he told him to re-do his sign as it was not readable. I had to laugh but does that even matter? Regardless of the message, clever or not, what they are asking for is the essentially the same.

At times I feel a little guilty because I am sure that some of these people are really in need, but I’m not that naive to think they all are. One lady, that worked the corners for almost two years with a sign saying “recently divorced and homeless”, I noted on several occasions leaving her home near my work. She was talking and laughing on her cell phone prior to manning her station with the most downtrodden look imaginable. I almost thought she was going to cry every time I saw her on the corner. Quite the actress. Tax free income, too.

I don’t know if I’m leaving or going home soon. A little of both maybe. Though I will be leaving my local beggars behind, I’ll have a whole new world where I can be pretty sure most of them are really in need.