On my way into the supermarket today, I got to thinking about how the bottle return areas of large supermarkets remind me of what an ancient slave market might have looked like. The dregs of society, conquered and diseased, standing in line, awaiting an uncertain, but sure to be unkind future. The number of homeless seems to be growing exponentially, to such a point that, given the current trend, we’ll all be homeless one day.
Both the bottle return station–probably not as bad here as in his neighborhood, but inspiring the same feeling of dread–and the increase in homeless people are depressing realities here. Hobos crawl through downtown scavenging up recyclables along with anything else they can use at night, sometimes angrily leaving piles of garbage around dumpsters they’ve broken into. The trash cans on the street are locked in little cages so they won’t be turned over. I’ve seen more than one homeless man furiously pulling and kicking away at one of these.
A little while later, as I walked back out to my car with half a cartload of groceries, I see someone sitting on the hood of my car. I’m a easy going type, so I cordially observe, “You’re on my car, dude.”
Like a flash, he hops off to face me, and I notice the hunting knife in his left hand. “So what about it, huh?” he inquired, while moving within a couple feet of me. His eyes tell me that he’s tweaked.
Wait a second. “What’s up Mike? I didn’t recognize you without your glasses.”
He smiles and tells me he lost them during the last snow storm. While we talk, he keeps the knife behind his back, blade pointed outward, tilting it back and forth, rocking on his heels, and craning his neck this way and that to get a better look at his surroundings.
“What’s with the knife?”, I ask.
It’s so motherfuckers know. Keep away! Danger! HaHa.”
His mental state has deteriorated since the last time I saw him. We used to be neighbors.
Mike’s in his late 40’s, and looks older. He talks with the sibilant “S” that is indicative of long term meth use. He’s become what I call a TOM. Tweaker On Mountainbike. I actually witnessed the moment he joined the ranks of the city’s homeless population.
In the late seventies PCP was introduced, and flowed into my Norwalk neighborhood by way of Compton. The drug is devastating, and long abuse left users with slurred speech. They became known as “mush heads” locally.
More homeless appear better outfitted with tents. They can pitch them right on the sidewalk overnight downtown. One remarkably elaborate construction, combining tarps, umbrellas and other things, last I checked, appears each night and is gone each morning on the same patch of sidewalk near a church.
A small encampment on a plot of land across from a church that feeds them will appear and grow, and then grow menacing, before being taken down by the police, and starting the cycle anew. The night belongs to the homeless in downtown Portland, and in the day they move about with visible frustration and difficulty, having to navigate the normies. Crazies walking down the middle of a boulevard mid-day are fairly common; people barely react.
The next political movement to challenge the status quo, whatever it is, will have to be some part therapeutic. It must seek to reclaim and heal some part of those lost to degeneracy, sloth and foolishness.
Won’t be long til summer comes.