KOOPERSMITHin' ® #15
'Tracking Pop Culture'
By: ASK: Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith
Koopersmith's Global Communications"
People read what Adrienne writes about..."
Chicago, Illinois USA
DateLine: Monday, December 31, 2007
RIDIN' THAT TRAIN OF HOMELESSNESS
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.
I realized that the train (the CTA was a bed) -- even a bedroom to this ever-growing population, as I boarded the Granville El-Train Stop 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-revelers would be boarding the El-trains to attend drunken and raucous parties, ushering in 2008, spending more money in one night (within a few short hours) that 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. 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 ease of being in your own home (and finding your way to the frig or bathroom within a few seconds), safe within the sturdy walls and locked in, the occupants were a sad commentary of the life we have created for ourselves.
After all, this was THE BIG CITY, where people went 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.
Sagging black circles (under one's eyes) are the sure-sign of a sleepless, hard night. With hats pulled down low to keep the glare and light (of the car) and scarves wrapped tightly around their necks, I could not tell (from their 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 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') 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 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 minus a home and the ability to function to their fullest ability(ies).
Chances are People in the near future (who live from paycheck-to-paycheck) will be boarding an El-train...finding a transitional home to help them pull through another night with the forecast of a new Day that beckons as soon as each Sun rises.
In the blackness and chill of the night, as they bear their sorrow-filled transition, Homelessness hardly phases those who sit around them (on these El-Train Cars) while both travel to their next Destination. They, however, have a Destination. The Homeless do not.
Bears live in dens and caves.
Birds and Squirrels build nests.
Some Animals burrow far underground.
Bees live in hives.
Some birds are even smart enough to routinely fly south for the winter.
"And who"," I ask, "Really has the Bird Brain in this particular case?"
Homeless Pets are rare (except for those poor cats and dogs whose former owner could not keep them for any number of reasons) . Without a doubt, some Animals live better than their human counterparts who ride the elevated train (or even a bus) on the inner city train tracks at night or driving through the long and lonely concrete streets of a town inhabited by millions, but all are strangers. 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 dysfunction that we now rampantly take for granted as 'The Norm.'
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.
Formerly referred to as: RIDIN' THAT TRAIN OF HOPELESSNESS ©2007
PENNED BY: ASK: Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith
Koopersmith's Global Communications"
People read what ASK writes about..."
Monday, December 31, 2007 5:30-5:45 AM
While riding the Red Line to Grand Av.
The Second Revised, Lengthier Version appears on December 31, 2007.
©1979-2008. Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith. All Rights Reserved.