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Cooking in a Coffee Pot and Other Useful Tips for the Homeless

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Cooking in a Coffee Pot and Other Useful Tips for the Homeless

Post by Daveparts on Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:10 pm

Cooking in a Coffee Pot
and Other Useful Tips for the Homeless
By David Glenn Cox

I write this for the millions who, like myself, are holed up in basements, garages, empty houses, fields, culverts and what have you. Guilty of being Americans and homeless, in trying to make it through just one more day in the land of you stink and the home of the slave. I am at the top of the homeless pyramid; I still have internet access and a toilet.

The one thing to remember about the homeless is that they never have a day off. They are homeless every day; it's easy to forget and difficult to understand, but the homeless face the world without a buttress. They are toe-to-toe with the heat and the humidity, the rain, the mud, and the bugs.

They have lost their basic building block of society, a home, a place to lay down their heads. A place to lie in comfort, a simple retreat from the world. I consider myself among the lucky; I have a leaking air mattress and a roof to keep myself dry and a box fan to keep me cool. I don’t sleep in a bed but on a floor, and eat on a table salvaged from a dumpster. But it is not a home, it is a garage. It is a refuge and I am a refugee in modern America.

Brought up in another place, I feel myself an alien in this land. This is not the land of my birth. Where did it all go? How can we get back there? Our goals, motives and principles become polluted and reverse reclamated, blurred and obscured by the lack of a home. We live like cave men and women, targeted and dodging the monsters in squad cars or just avoiding the looks of disgust from those who believe themselves invincible.

But we know better and we look back with “see you soon eyes,” and we dream a dream of beds with clean linen or a hot bath or a shower. A dream of a decent job with decent wages and maybe even a front door and a window with a screen. But if I had one wish it would be to play the movie “The Grapes of Wrath” on every TV channel for twenty-four hours, because I am living every line of it every day. “Don’t take no nerve to do something when you ain’t got no other choice.”

It’s my dirt; it ain’t no good but its mine!”

We are looking for our California, our promised land, and a place to start again. Because, just like Tom Joad, we are getting angry. “They’re working away at our spirit, trying to make us crawl” feeding us promises, programs that, like the rain, sound good but never reach us here on the ground.

I laugh myself through the want ads each day at jobs that make promises that are either sucker gambits or flat out frauds. Come work for free! Learn Grant Writing, only $200. “I never should have come on this trip. You remember that coupon in the spicy Western stories magazine? Learn to be a radio expert.” Jobs that aren’t really jobs at all, promising good work and good wages but paying a nickel a box when they promised you a dime. “An' you fellas will have to take it cause you’ll be hungry.”

I traded my truck for a 1987 Paseo and $1,500, but I don’t drive; it is merely a vestige of who I once was. I don’t drive because I don’t have insurance, but it is like an escape pod. Just knowing that I could go if I had somewhere to go, it is my last redoubt. I’m down to about $250 dollars and still looking for work, foolishly, pointlessly. I applied to a popular website that was seeking in depth journalism on the subject of homelessness but they never replied. Typical of American media, they just want anecdotes about homelessness; they want to hear about it but don’t actually want to know about it.

I watch the body shop next door meandering towards oblivion as their work dries up. Friday, they had six body men working on three cars and you can’t keep the doors open like that. The cabinetry shop on the other side is working four and a half days a week.

I buy groceries according to what I can keep in a mini fridge, more like an icebox really. It keeps food cool, not cold. For soup you measure a cup of water in a plastic cup and place the soup in the coffeepot. Then you let the water pour through and wait for the warmer to warm the concoction. It’s not piping hot, but it’s hot enough and beggars can’t be choosers now, can they? Because of my culinary limitations I buy the same foods each week; two months ago it cost $45.00 and last week it was $65.00.

The money is rapidly loosing its value, which also explains why gas prices are rising even as demand sinks. I know that more of you are coming to join us in the time that the land forgot and you will have questions just as we had questions. But there are no answers for them, you just do and try and make the day. You wait anxiously for the Georgia sun to go down to offer some relief from the heat. As the sky turns red, the box fan again begins to offer some relief, the only relief available.

The kitties, Moxie and Blackie, still visit me each night and it is peculiar because I’ve joined their society more than they mine. When I wrote about them before, some people, well-intentioned I’m sure, suggested that I capture them and turn them over to the humane society. You don’t understand, we are equals in this life. I don’t rat them out and they don’t rat me out. If I turned them over maybe they’d have a better life; maybe they’d get gassed.

But, like the Joads, “We had meat tonight, not much but we had it.” The kitties are free and for the time being happy. I feed them and welcome them but they are free to go as well. They are not mine, merely night visitors who befriended me without qualifications. It would be too hard on my conscience to turn them in without knowing the outcome. Maybe you understand, maybe you don’t. Tom said it like this, “Seems the government has more interest in a dead man than a live one.” Or in this case they have more interest in picking up kitties than in finding them homes. Besides, the government has done nothing to help me; why should I expect more for cats that will never vote?

The cool and the stillness of Sunday night are a comfort to me and I must take my pleasure where I can, because the air mattress still leaks and the hot sun will return again tomorrow. So I will lay my head on the floor and dream.

“Fear the time when the strikes stop while the great owners live - for every little beaten strike is proof that the step is being taken … fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is the foundation of Manself, and this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe.” - John Steinbeck

First published July 15, 2009

Daveparts
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Re: Cooking in a Coffee Pot and Other Useful Tips for the Homeless

Post by elvis44102 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:02 am

could not resist the title.....

we had a "crafts project" women here on the TV 20 years ago that wrapped a turkey up with aluminum foil and cooked a turkey under the hood of her car from the engine heat....

people can be very resourcefull

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Re: Cooking in a Coffee Pot and Other Useful Tips for the Homeless

Post by invisiblecitizen on Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:49 am

Hello Daveparts. Your post has some very thought-provoking words. Never would I have thought that this country would sink to this level. Never would I have thought that the citizens of this country would allow this to happen. What has happened to us?

I will keep you in my prayers. Stay strong Daveparts. We the People must find a way to overcome this tragedy. I have to believe that this country is better than this.

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Re: Cooking in a Coffee Pot and Other Useful Tips for the Homeless

Post by need_a_break on Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:50 am

Daveparts, this story was very poignant. Has your situation changed since you first published this?

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Re: Cooking in a Coffee Pot and Other Useful Tips for the Homeless

Post by Daveparts on Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:57 am

My situation is both better and worse, I have traveled the US, I've been in Minneapolis, Texas, Washington DC and Portland Oregon. I have met hundreds of people in similar situations. These people have made me stronger and the situation has made me angrier While doing day labor in Minneapolis, a man walked up to the boss looking for work. He was walking the streets of the town looking for work. As I was waiting for the bus he walked up to me me and asked me for two dollars so he could get something to eat.

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Re: Cooking in a Coffee Pot and Other Useful Tips for the Homeless

Post by need_a_break on Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:15 pm

I feel that is how it is for most of us. We are not getting that sustained feeling that things are getting better.

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Re: Cooking in a Coffee Pot and Other Useful Tips for the Homeless

Post by Daveparts on Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:21 pm

The greatest thing I have gained, is that I am a part of something greater
than myself. I have lost everything but I am a better person and even though I have never met you, I know you and you know me.
I was in Washington at "Stop the Machine" demonstration and I met a single mother who was put out of her house despite being in Obama's Hamp mortgage program because she changed jobs. She was laind off and was lucky enough to find a new job but the bank said, she no longer qualified. The state said, she made too much for food stamps.

If we are waiting for Republicans or Democrats to save us, we are waiting for a bus that is not coming.

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Re: Cooking in a Coffee Pot and Other Useful Tips for the Homeless

Post by invisiblecitizen on Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:43 pm

All the Repubs and Dems have for us is more loss and suffering. We are going to have to find a way to get together so that we can save ourselves. I haven't lost everything yet, but its heading my way - Wells Fargo is relentless and 18 years of paying a mortgage means nothing. When I am able to begin rebuilding, I will do it differently. Lost all faith in our so-called system. While we are forced into being victims, this country is creeping up on a war with Iran. I just can't get a grasp on the stupidity.

I take heat every time I say it, and I'll say it again: What this country needs is competent leadership. Not paid shills.

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Re: Cooking in a Coffee Pot and Other Useful Tips for the Homeless

Post by need_a_break on Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:59 pm

I remember when I was young and in school, you were taught to be a better citizen by having civics classes and in those classes you were taught your rights and duties. It was drilled into your head that our economy was based on a strong middle class and that unpaid wars can bankrupt a country as it has done throughout history. Big monopolies were sometimes a bad thing and had to be broken up. A country cannot sustain too much wealth at the top because it becomes top heavy and will collapse because the money is no longer in circulation to stimulate the economy. And the three branches of government were there for checks and balances to make sure our government stayed fair and democratic.

So much has changed and not for the good. I think their are entities that want this country to collapse so they can reap the spoils an create their own country.

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Re: Cooking in a Coffee Pot and Other Useful Tips for the Homeless

Post by invisiblecitizen on Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:10 pm

I agree need_a_break. We don't even know who is financing these political campaigns, what country they are from, and what they are going to demand once their pawn is in office. Over half this country can't even focus on the upcoming elections because of all the turmoil going on with American Idol. As for civics - most don't even know what you mean by "three branches of government." How much more before we've had enough?

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Re: Cooking in a Coffee Pot and Other Useful Tips for the Homeless

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:57 pm

Hello Dave, or Daveparts. Welcome to the forum, you are in good company, many well-seasoned great Americans come here to hang out and blow off frustrations from what we call the Great Depression II. That said, I also want to tell you that you have a special gift of putting into words (in sort of story form) some very deep and emotional experiences that certainly make the reader continue right to end. Often someone will post here that is actually seeking out someone, or many folks that will talk about their lives since the great retraction in the US of the middle class. Mary Kay and DIRI keep us appraised of these publishers, and others. I firmly believe you should also contact some of them regarding your "letter".

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Re: Cooking in a Coffee Pot and Other Useful Tips for the Homeless

Post by Springflowers on Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:41 pm

Great article Dave Parts

I know there are more homeless people. I have an apt, but the streets could await even for us, and most today because of all the rules and regulations, remain hidden on PURPOSE. I know people living with friends now who have been hidden away in RV campers and other places.

http://ramennoodlenation.blogspot.com/2012/03/emotional-realities-of-poverty.html

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Re: Cooking in a Coffee Pot and Other Useful Tips for the Homeless

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