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Tips on how to understand a homeless person. You could be next

Updated on August 15, 2013

I finally entered this camp because my buddy Joe told me it is vacant.

This is a perfect campsite, but that makes it cursed.
This is a perfect campsite, but that makes it cursed. | Source

I have been without a home, and happy in it.

I like my home. I really like my bed. I like my bathroom. I guess I am just crazy that way.

Hard to understand that many homeless prefer that. Nomads are very interesting.

I have a brother. In his circles he is very famous. He is a river runner to the stars and government. Quite arguably he is the best white water river runner alive. He was Rainey in the movie Into the Wild. I will just call him Brian – because that is his name. He is a giant of a man at around 6’7” I suppose. He is in his fifties with a body any 25 year old would like to have. Now here is the rest of that story.

Brian sleeps outdoors about 180 days a year. Rain, snow, high winds, blistering heat and there this man with a beautiful wife and a beautiful home, is sleeping outside. Because of the nature of his work, he seldom sleeps in the same spot more than maybe two nights in a row. No doubt the man makes good money.

Now skip to our frontline military heroes. For many very often they will not see a bed for months. They have a home base but they need to be where they are in order to do what they do.

Maybe all of us need to get out of our "comfort zone".

This is good shelter, not a ruin, just a place waiting for a Spirit Man.

People talk about defending their homes with a gun. It is no different for the "homeless"
People talk about defending their homes with a gun. It is no different for the "homeless" | Source

A home can be a prison, or at least a place "that keeps my mind from wandering".

Finally to the point. Many people live outside a normal home. There are many reasons for this truth. Some are normal and some are practical and some are necessity. Here is the distinguishing feature; it is for people who need to be outside to do what they do, and they generally are isolated from civilization. Now perhaps in your well organized and socialized head you do not need such a condition. Good for you. But the same reasons that Brian and the soldier need to be outside stands for most homeless. They need the isolation and they need not to have walls and ceilings. Those very things that we normies so covet the homeless finds disturbing and scary. I bet you never thought of that.

There is a hole in my room that has an effect

White man moved my Navajo friends into trailers and houses. The dumb sons of bitches did not realize that corners are evil places to the Din'e

Homeless shelters are not the answer except for provisionally. A horribly cold night, a sickness, nearing starvation or perhaps a scheduled routine for a night to get caught up on gossip, cleaned up and fed. But the need to be free is there like a weight. Claustrophobia is not really the correct diagnosis. It is more a drive toward rather than a drive away from. It is not that the walls close in, but they are blocking the air and view.

Here is an interesting notion. Work in a good “soup” kitchen, serving. It will utterly amaze you the sophisticated complaints on the preparation and presentation of food. I mean yesterday the guy ate out of a can or a dumpster and today he complains about watery hot peas (well so do I ;-).

Visit an encampment and marvel at how organized and rule oriented they are. Walk along a long street where hundreds are in a row, waiting for medical treatment the next day in the clinic. Those cardboard huts and tarped shopping carts are the way they are for an orderly reason.

Take a close look. Those are haunting relics, do not pass here.

A really good camp is haunted. That is because the previous tenant would not leave except for violent reasons.
A really good camp is haunted. That is because the previous tenant would not leave except for violent reasons. | Source

I hope this hub may inspire you to reach out. "Oh Lord if I were not a little crazy, I would go insane"

Mental illness is a major issue creating homelessness. We are all shocked to find out that 1 in 2 are ill. You may wonder why I laugh at this. If you work in a large corporate office 1 in 2 of you are ill and taking medication for it. You cannot ask but census and health insurance statistics tell the story. Did you know that the worker who walks down and up some flights of stairs to go outside in the air to smoke is healthier than you? Chew on that one!!

We all reckon that is OK Because we are normal and have a home. But just think for one second that the stars are your home. For some reason our illness does not cause us to be any more or less than any other Joe down our street. I must confess I would rather be my Joe in the canyon than every other Joe in suburbia. And so I remain:


The Walking Man.


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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you for caring enough to read and ponder and comment. It is a strange state of mind for sure. I probably took to many liberties with generalities, but I will make it up by writing more on the subject.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      It must be a run down experience being homeless I often heard and saw those homeless but never gave it much thought you have enlightened me much more on the homeless, glad I read this hub.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wow Maria, sounds to me like you are spreading your stuff around. And that is a fine thing indeed. We need more Marias. Spread that love and let me know how I can help in that regard!

    • profile image

      Maria Ruiz 

      5 years ago

      Voted up, Like in facebook and I pin it. Sharing the good stuff...spreading love around.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Those folks on the beach are a subset. Beachcombers. Or they are just visiting like you. I know one gentlemen veteran that takes a week off every month and rents a room down in Ocean Beach. The rest of the time he lives down by the San Diego River in a tent.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Sheri, thank you for reading and commenting. No doubt it is bad out there for many. But here is a note of some levity. The ones that you can readily see suffer, more than likely are adding quite a bit of acting to that. I have seen death on the streets, but if they are out and visible they have a reason for it. Keep the compassion!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bravewarrior thank you for dropping by and leaving a note. Some folks stories are more complicated than what would appear.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      Eric, this is a perspective on homelessness that never entered my mind. Thanx for the insight!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      We see many homeless people over in California by the beach. They just seem to trudge along and have a wide variety of people to talk with. I do often wonder what their stories are. Well done.

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 

      5 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      I live in a small town so treks to the city are an eye opener. I know some people are homeless by choice, but some of those defeated looking people huddled in doorways just breaks my heart. A friend of mine lives in the city and he finds them annoying because they are always asking for money. I told him "there by the grace of God go I". I always wonder at their story. How did they get like this? I usually take a handful of fives and give them out. But I think more importantly while I am giving I look them in the eye and smile. I want them to know, that to me, they are not invisible. For those who choose the lifestyle, kudos! For those, whoes life has become a nightmare, I send compassion. And a fiver.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill, so much is not by choice and yet somehow connected to our destiny. Our good friend Mark could have gone that route but instead returned to help another and saved her life. And you returned and are arguably changing many.

      Had that really cool dude not gone homeless in the wilderness for forty, where would millions be today.

      Mark, I am watching you. Not for you and not for the lady, but for the children. I beg of you to provide them a home.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great perspective on homelessness. I was homeless once, although not by choice. Walk in those shoes for awhile and you gain quite an insight into the homelessness we see daily on the streets of this country.

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 

      5 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      All I can say is Awesome Eric.


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