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Friday, July 8, 2016

The End of Self Reliance



In early posts I may have mentioned the guy who bought a small piece of land down the road from me and put in a small trailer. He'd been homeless in Rhode Island. The guy had been living rough and unemployed for about five years.

The homeless shelter in RI closed on April 1st. That's when he paid a guy to tow the old trailer to his land here in NH. He and a friend lived in the trailer. Later he had a falling out with his friend and shipped him back to RI. The buddy got his retirement settlement and finally had enough money for full time alcohol consumption.

So the guy goes from homeless to living in a trailer on a small piece of land. It has electric power and a gravity fed water source. Before too long he'd gone through most of his money. However, he did own the land, his trailer, a motorcycle and an old car free and clear.

Unfortunately the guy was unable to find work -even work that paid barely above minimum wage. It's really hard to find work if you have a five year break in your employment history. To be fair, I would have been hesitant to hire him myself. The guy's got some anxiety issues and other minor mental health issues that would indicate he might not be the most reliable of employees. Living on the street will do that to a person.

Imagine going five years without having to make any serious mental decisions. He found it pretty stressful to figure out things like how to get mail and pay his electric bill on-line.

He's actually a pretty decent guy. We'd occasionally get together and play cards. I lent him some tools from time to time. He gave me a hand with a few projects around the house. At the beginning of the summer I cut him a burn barrel from a steel drum.

While I was on vacation he gave me a call. He decided to go back to Rhode Island. A neighbor is buying the land for what he paid for it. The trailer is being sold for $50. He's selling his small car to by one big enough to sleep in. That's his plan, to live in a car for a while. The money from the land sale should keep him going for some time, if he's careful.

This is his last weekend here. We are going to get together to play a few more card games. He's returned the stuff I loaned him and even dropped off the burn barrel. I wish him well.

Most people don't realize how easy it is to slip into homelessness: some bad breaks, a few bad decisions, and before you know it five years on the street have gone by. Once you are one the street is really hard to get out of that lifestyle. Thank goodness this guy doesn't have alcohol or drug problems or it would be even harder.

Moving up here was probably not the best of decisions. That land was cheap, but it's really isolated -not the best area for a guy who needs to be around people. Maybe his stab at self reliance was a failure, or maybe he's learned enough to get back on his feet at a later date.

-Sixbears

14 comments:

  1. At least he tried; that's more than many do.

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    1. I think he'll eventually find what works for him.

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  2. If the rumors are true about a sizable portion of the population living from paycheck to paycheck, their lives will become extremely difficult. I am not very confident the economy will improve, it has been limping along for quite a while now.

    Too bad about your neighbor - I hope he can turn his Life around.

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    1. In my travels I meet a lot of people who are down and out. Folks that aren't in the government statistics. To most people they are invisible.

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  3. You were a good neighbor and I'm sure he appreciated it. Guess he was just used to the old life.

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    1. I don't think the old life will fit him like it used to. He did like the lack of craziness out here in the country.

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  4. He knows what it takes to survive, This route just wasn't for him. Perhaps he now has a better idea on what HE needs to make it. The gentleman sounds like he would be happier as a van dweller in city.

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    1. I'm surprised he's not looking for a van. He does have a line on a large car that's got enough room to sleep in. That can work too.

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  5. At least he tried. That's says something good about his mindset. Perhaps you can suggest Gary's idea of a van to him.

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  6. I thought about bugging out once, but then I realized I would have to get out of my recliner/rocker and I have no intention of doing that!!

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    1. So you decided to "recline in." :)

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