Posts Tagged ‘Homeless’

I Prefer "Couch Surfer" to "Homeless"

couchsurfing96.JPGAlthough, technically, we are homeless as we do not have a fixed address. We are in a better position than most homeless people, however. We are the middle class of homeless: we work, we go to the cinema, we both have Oyster cards. We are lucky. My former employer has allowed us to store our severely diminished personal effects in the basement (we had to throw out about three quarters of our stuff when we got chucked out the flat: see below). And, our editing mentor has given us a place to set up a temporary office so that we can finish off our jobs for paying clients. Before, we were working from “home.”

And, we are couch surfing some very posh couches.

To back up a bit…due to a combination of factors including the rising cost of living in London, not getting paid by clients for work done and a dispute with our landlord, we found ourselves chucked out of our flat with 24 hour notice the night before leaving for Sweden to get married (I tell you, surviving this without ripping out each other’s insides gives me great hopes for this marriage).

Our plan had always been to return home to New Orleans in September for the foreseeable future, and that is still in the plan. It’s just that we will spend the month of August couch surfing, and, having not been paid by those who shall remain nameless, we will be couch surfing in New Orleans as well.

Last night and for the next three days, it’s north of Muswell Hill. Having lived in Central London for my eight years here, it is like traveling to another world. Fresh air, detached houses, forest. But, now I feel like a true Londoner…I commute on the bus for an hour each way. I find that I have more time to read now.

Image from Riding with the Window Down.

Charity Starts at Home

Living in Westminster, I get to see a lot of homeless people. It is the policy of our Borough to discourage giving cash. They might be scamming. They might use it to buy smack. I don’t know. If people feel that they have spare cash to give, then maybe they should just do what their hearts tell them to do.

I don’t give cash. I can’t spare it. Not one pence. But, I can give other stuff. Socks, for example. Sometimes I leave socks with the sleeping man down the block. Or a t-shirt that is just hanging around the flat not doing anyone any good. Sometimes I will buy some food or orange juice. One time I got yelled at by one of our local homeless for offering her orange juice. Apparently, she only wanted cash. I wanted to give her the two fingers as she was yelling at me, but I tried to remind myself that something, not the orange juice, sent her off the rails maybe years ago.

San Francisco is doing a thing called “Replate.” Leave your leftover food in a doggie bag on top of a bin. I kinda like it. There is the sanitary question, but I guess it’s better than actually eating out of the bin.

Speaking of which, I was having a chat with one of the security blokes behind Marks and Sparks on Long Acre. I asked him if a lot of food gets thrown away. “A shameless amount,” he said. I’ve heard of urban foragers who bin dive for food. It’s perfectly good food. My question is why grocers don’t do what Pret do. They give away their food for free at the end of the day.

You can’t bin dive at Long Acre, though. I’ve already checked. They’ve got security measures in place to protect all of that free food on its way to the land fill. How can we expect to save the planet and all those children starving in Africa if we are throwing away perfectly good food? Why can’t I have the free, not-even-barely-out-of-date food and then send the money that I would otherwise spend on food to Oxfam or something.

Sorry, this is such a rambling post. So stressed with the move that I can’t think clearly to edit.

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