The suburban equivalent of death row

Okay, maybe the title of this post is a little harsh, or is it?  This is another journal entry from my homelessness thing.  I still don’t know what to call it.

Here’s a reality most of us don’t think about.  Gasoline is a necessity in suburbia, if of course, you have a car.  On Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, gas ranks on the safety level.  This could be a whole blog post in itself.

Basic necessities are scarce or unavailable

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to fit in, especially when you don’t have money to buy anything.  I’m at a different Starbucks than yesterday.  I still have about $4.00 in cash and I would love nothing more than a hot cup of coffee, but instead, I’m drinking my cold leftovers from yesterday.  Continue reading

To look homeless here is to NOT look homeless.

I wrote so much on my homeless journey, but even with the 100+ handwritten pages, I feel like I just scratched the surface of simply understanding the difficulties of it.  I don’t have a clue what it’s like to really be homeless, yet learned enough to know it’s horrific.

Every homeless person I’ve met or talked to has a different story, yet most of our working class sees homelessness as a place they’ll never be.  ‘Those people’ have addictions, they’re lazy or have some other type of dysfunction.  No matter what their situation, they’re prejudged by many as being a drain on our society.

When asking for assistance, I never said I was homeless because (a) I didn’t know what would happen and (b) it’s somewhat embarrassing.  In suburbia, to look homeless is to not look homeless.  I looked and dressed like I always do, yet I didn’t have access to the same hygiene routines.   Continue reading

rethink homelessness

Let me start by saying I’ve never been homeless.  Rethinking homelessness for me is knowing there are people in really tough situations without a home, and knowing I’m a few paychecks away from the same thing.  I’m a middle-aged single mom, living in a nice suburban home in what is considered to be a wealthy area.  Many people think it’s odd that I ponder this social issue so frequently.

In my community, there are no homeless people on the street corners with cardboard signs, nor are there people living under the overpasses.  There are no visible signs of homelessness in many suburban areas, so does that mean homelessness doesn’t exist there?  How about poverty in the wealthy suburbs, is that non-existent in suburbia?  No.   Suburban homelessness does exist.  It’s an invisible, underground world, where belonging in your own community is a fairytale and where your very existence is illegal.  Continue reading

3 things rarely seen in suburbia…

There are just some things you rarely see in affluent suburban areas.  I decided to walk to work this past week, and what did I see?  #1, a whiskey bottle in a tree.  It was empty.  What?  You would have checked too.  I guess the good thing here is that the person drinking it wasn’t driving.  This was clearly placed in a walking zone.  I did have the desire to place a note inside the bottle to see if anyone would get it.  Maybe if it’s still there next week, I’ll do that.

Christmas in September is new to me.  #2, a dead Christmas tree.  Okay, okay.  I’ll stop the Dr. Seussing.   This tree was in my neighborhood since last Christmas.  It was in the alley for 8 months, then moved to the curb in the front.  In affluent suburbia, they don’t pick up stuff like this unless it’s cut into perfect 3′ sections, weighing less than 30 pounds, then neatly tied together with biodegradable string.  I don’t have a problem making it easy for the people picking it up, but I do think this is a bit overboard.  As for the tree… I have no idea how it got decorated, but that’s funny!  😉

This is only one picture of mattresses thrown away.  #3, queen size mattress.  All of the mattresses seem to be that size.  This one was in an apartment dumpster.  The other ones were in business dumpsters, one being behind the pizza place by our house.

I can’t wait to see what I find this week…

spoiled suburbanite [day 131]

I’m spoiled to my 1.5 mile drive to work.  I have an SUV and I fill it up about every 3 to 4 weeks, unless I have some unplanned trips to Dallas or something.  I decided to walk to work a couple of days ago.

It takes just under 30 minutes to walk to work.  I live in suburbia where people just don’t walk places, well, that is unless they are dressed in fancy running attire or walking a dog.  The looks I got from people driving by, silently said, “Oh, sorry your car must be broken down” or “I wonder what she’s doing”.  And there was the guy in the red Mercedes that was smiling and waving like he knew me.  Odd…

Today I’m riding a bike to work.  I only have 15 minutes to get home after work to pick up my kids, so walking won’t work.  My friend let me borrow her bike.  Thanks Diane!!!

Why? Continue reading