From past dealings with homeless people I know they drink a lot. It’s not that they’re alcoholics (necessarily), but that they’re bored.
Let’s say you throw a party at your house. In the beginning things get started slowly. The drinks are poured, more and more are consumed and soon people are feeling pretty loosey goosey. Now people are dancing, talking to each other and having fun.
Alcohol is a well known social lubricant because it can help make a dull time into a fun time.
Do you NEED it? Absolutely 100% not, but it can help.
SO imagine you’re one of the homeless people living Downtown or on Riverside. Your food needs are taken care of by either grifting for a few hours or going to a homeless shelter and getting food. You don’t work, you don’t do much of anything….so what can help pass all that time?
Drinking and drugs of course!
On any given day a homeless person whose food/water/shelter are taken care of probably has about 10-12 free hours of the day. That’s a lot of time when you’re doing NOTHING….and doing nothing can be excruciating if you do NOTHING all day long, everyday.
So my experiment for today is to get drunk and bum around. From the meager proceeds of asking people here and there for money, I mustered up $6.00. For $4.50 I bought a plastic 375ML bottle of J.T.S. Brown Kentucky Bourbon (whaa???) and started drinking. I’ve got a good buzz going and am sitting here in the “Homeless Park” (aka a park by the library that’s always populated with homeless people) and am typing this up (I can skim the library wireless from here)!
There is a liquor store RIGHT across the street from the homeless shelter. I’m talking maybe 25 steps away max. As I was buying the bourbon I asked the clerk if, “He gets many of us homeless people in here.” He responded, “Nope, I don’t get many of them in here.” Puzzled by why he classified them as “Them” instead of “You” I asked if he thought I was homeless. He immediately replied, “Nope, you don’t have the tell-tale signs of a homeless person.” I was a bit relieved and dissapointed by this.
Relieved because I didn’t REALLLLYY look homeless (despite entering his store with a beard, ripped/dirty shirt, carrying a garbage bag and asking for only bottles made out of plastic).
Dissapointed because perhaps I didn’t do a good enough job of disguising myself….although I think I did, this is what I look like right now:
(That’s one homeless looking dude from my perspective).
Anyhow, surprisingly he does “Very very little” business with homeless people because he doesn’t carry much they can afford. The store stopped carrying things in the $2.00 price range because, “The sales were too small, took too much time, the shelters didn’t like it and the cops didn’t like it.” Basically it was bad for business AND social causes. Interesting.
So right now it’s 1:39pm and I’m buzzed (actually maybe a little drunk). How does it feel? A lot better than being sober.
This is only because I’m pretending to be homeless and have nothing else to do. Otherwise I’d MUCH RATHER be completely sober and reading and jotting down notes on some Epictetus or other interesting subject at the library.