Have you seen the news? The national unemployment rate has fallen to 8.5 percent, the lowest level since 2009. My personal statistics, however, remain unchanged: I’m 100% unemployed. After this length of time, and with my unemployment benefits rapidly drawing to an end, I’ve begun planning for life in the homeless community.
The way I look at it, the transition will be easier and smoother if I plan ahead. It’s a bit like preparing for the first trip to a foreign land; I don’t speak the language or know the culture or have a guidebook. I fully expect to make the usual newbie mistakes, like packing the wrong things and smiling at the wrong people.
I know the dress code is casual, but how casual? Should I throw in summer clothes, too, even though it’s winter? What is the appropriate dress for a dumpster dive? What about pajamas and toiletries? It’s just so hard to know.
At least I won’t be a complete rookie; I’ve been to Girl Scout camp. For ten days and nights I battled the elements, like bad food and no TV, and I came out alive. Our tents weren’t air conditioned, we drank warm, tinny water from metal canteens, hiked hither and yon, rain or shine, and used latrines. I know harsh conditions, thanks to Camp Tapawingo. And I’ve been trained to survive them.
One morning a fellow camper showed up for breakfast with cuts and scratches and banged up knees. When I asked, she said she’d rolled out of her cot and down the hill in her sleep. I offered to perform first aid, but she declined. We Girl Scouts are tough like that.
Even so, I’d rather avoid the whole transition experience. On one hand, I’d get some great stories out of the experience and meet some interesting people. On the other, I’m a fan of privacy — I like having my own room and a private bath.
Why can’t we return to the days when you could build a cabin in the woods, like Thoreau in Walden, and live a quiet, contemplative life in harmony with nature? Whoa, wait, didn’t the Unabomber live like that? While he wrote the Manifesto? In Montana? You know, never mind.
Cot for one, near a window, please.
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