"Why's it got to be that way?..."
DateLine: Monday, December 31, 2007
Last ASKian Blog for 2007
The Elevated Train in Chicago is a Bed to many People, comprised of 44 Seats in each Compartment. At night (when it gets later for The Homeless Segment of a City -- any City for that matter), they board with their Belongings in tow to spend this Nocturnal Period riding up and down the Tracks. When the End of the Line (North and South Terminals) is reached, I'd assume they exit, only to wait as patiently as possible on the barren Platform till the next Train arrives so they can continue to attempt Sleep. Not a good Night's Sleep or Rest, far from a safe Night's Sleep, but inhabiting a Unit that's dry and enclosed for the long, often dangerously long Nights ahead.
I realized that The Train (the CTA: Chicago Transit Authority) was a Bed -- even a Bedroom to this ever-growing Population, as I boarded the Granville El-Train early one morning, the last Day of December in 2007, at 5:30. Most Chicagoans were still home and asleep while I thought of what my Surroundings really depicted; what they reflected here in the 21st Century. Only 15 Hours later, tens of thousands of Party-Revellers would hop on these El-Trains to attend heathenly raucous Parties, ushering in 2008 and spending more Money in one night (within a few short Hours) than many earn in a Week's Time. These Bedrooms would (then) not be in service to those who needed them most.
As I sat and looked around, Sadness filled my Heart. Three were fast asleep. No doubt they were someone's Daughter or Son, even someones' Mother or Father. Having completed a Marketing Study on the Effects of Sleeplessness, I knew the Benefits and Detriments first-hand of a good Night's Rest. Besides not having the Privilege of being in your own Home (and conveniently finding your way to the Frig or Bathroom within a few seconds at any time you wished), safe within the sturdy Walls and locked in, the Occupants reflected a pitifully sad Commentary and State of The Life we have created for ourselves. Privacy was not theirs to enjoy and partake (in).
After all, this was THE BIG CITY, where People gravitated and converged to find their 'Fame and Fortune' only to be reduced to nothing but the Clothes on their Back(s) and the Trunks that they pulled. These Trains are not Club Cars. They are not equipped with Showers, Bathrooms or a spiffy Kitchen Unit. They were designed to move People from Point A to Point B to Destinations where they needed to be and then back again (if that was called for). However, because Survival is such a strong Instinct, these Movable Homes have become a Shelter for those who don't have the Elementary Essentials that make Life livable. Living on Rapid Transit exists because there's a Pressing Need for this State of Limbo that has not been solved since the First Tracks were laid 116 years ago.
Sagging Black Circles (under one's eyes) are the sure-sign of a Sleepless, hard and interrupted Night. With Hats and Caps pulled down low to keep the glare and light out (of their Eyes) and Scarves wrapped firmly around their Necks, I could not tell (from their individual Faces) how down-and-out they (really) were. Maybe I was better off not knowing...
That is: If they had been without a proper Bed and Lodging for a Day, a Month or longer than a Year.
2007: THE YEAR OF THE FORECLOSURE: Foreclosures struck -- rocked -- an all-time high throughout the United States. This swelling Population of 'Nouveau Homeless" (who weathered 'The Storm' literally) before and after a dire Housing Market eventually recovers, continues to live as best as they can, traveling from place-to-place, much like The Bohemian Gypsy. The Scales vary. There is 'The Homeless.' There are those newly labeled as 'homeless' because of Foreclosures, Fires, Natural Disasters, Divorces or other Severities. The Bottom Line(nevertheless) remains:
They are without a Home, Roof, Warmth, Comforts and Security (defined as 'The Basics or Essentials') that allows them to function to their fullest Ability(ies). This is robbing Society of its Culture, besides the Individual of his or her full Potential. This is a Crime against Humanity.
Chances are People in the near Future (who live from Paycheck-to-Paycheck) will be boarding an El-Train...finding a Transitional Home -- a Space as big as a Seat -- to help them pull through another Night with the hope-filled Forecast of a new Day that beckons as soon as each Sun rises, if they can.
In the oblique Blackness and crackling Chill of The Night's Severity, as they bear their sorrow-filled Transition, the State of Homelessness hardly phases those who sit clustered amongst them (on these El-Train Cars) while both travel to their next Destination. However, they have a Destination. The Homeless do not.
Bears live in Dens and Caves.
Bees live in Hives.
Birds and Squirrels build Nests.
Some Animals burrow far Underground.
Some Birds are even smart enough to routinely fly south for a brittle and brutal Winter. "And who," I ask, "Really possesses the proverbial 'Bird Brain' now?"
Homeless Pets are rare (except for those poor (possibly abandoned) Cats and Dogs whose former Owner could not keep them for any Number of Reasons) . Without a Doubt, some Animals do live much better than their Human Counterparts who ride the Elevated Train (or even a Bus) on the Inner City Train Tracks in the pitch Darkness of Night or driving through the long and lonely concrete-paved Streets of Town inhabited by Millions, where Strangers reside and tend to their own.
Animals possess a much better Grip, Sense and Perspective of care-taking (of their own) than We Humans do. They've somehow never bred the Indifference Dysfunction that we now rampantly take for granted and see (or accept) as 'The Norm.' As huge Buildings sit empty; as more Structures are being built that are too expensive to buy or rent (for the average, soon-to-be-unemployed or now displaced American), the Great American Irony here makes for Good Politics than no one seems to answer positively, term-in and decade-out.
"Homelessness is solely a dispicable Human Error."
After all, just ride the El-train at night and see who goes Home and who doesn't. Maybe 2008 with its Welcome of Hope, Goodwill and Prosperity will change (any and all) of this for them...
Time will tell...as it always does.
Good Night. Sleep tight...
Formerly referred to as: RIDIN' THAT TRAIN OF HOPELESSNESS (C)2007
PENNED BY: Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith
Koopersmith's Global Communications
"People read what ASK writes about..."
Monday, December 31, 2007 between 5:30-5:45 AM
While riding the Red Line to Grand Av.
A D D E N D U M: Thursday, January 3, 2008 - 6:14 AM
As We glare into the Iowa Caucus that finally occurs Today, wouldn't it be nice if all Presidential Candidates spent only One Day's Worth of their Campaign Banks & Budgets by donating it to Homeless Shelters, Food Depositories or Aids to help The Homeless? Imagine what that would do for their Fellow Americans? How much is too much? How much more Despair, Poverty and Disillusionment can People take? Yes, the El-Train is a Hot Bed for Action...