June 29, 2017

"You’re well taken care of here. They got resources and... I don’t know there’s just something about the place. They call it the vortex."

"I’ve left. I’ve been to Arcata and Santa Cruz and I’ve tried Florida. I’ve been around America. Ain’t nowhere like Berkeley, man.... I sat out here before like depressed and starving but still too proud to hold my head up and ask somebody for food. I’m just sitting here with my head down. I look up, and there’s this guy handing me like French toast in a box. I was like, ‘Thank you, man.’ I had my headphones in. I put it down, I put my head back down, and when I look back up I see his fist in my face and he had ‘LOVE’ tattooed on his knuckles and he was trying to give me knuckles and I thought that was pretty awesome, man. And just shit like that happens all the time, man. You see a lot of manifestation out here. Manifestation is what I like to call it. When you need something, it just comes to you. As long as you need something important. Something that you actually need, you’ll get it. I don’t know if that’s manifestation or blessings. I guess it’s all the same."

From "How people living on the streets in Berkeley find their food."

38 comments:

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Sheldon Cooper is on record as being perfectly willing to be a house pet for some super-intelligent space alien. The laugh track gave that one a huge reaction, as if it were an outrageous thing to say, and I was all, like, who wouldn't be?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

You see a lot of manifestation out here. Manifestation is what I like to call it.

Sounds like what Berkeley has is an Infestation.

LYNNDH said...

He's homeless, with headphones?

Jersey Fled said...

This is sickening. A man who's highest ambition in life is for someone to give him stuff without his even asking. He doesn't even produce enough for society to be worth the air he breathes. His sole claim is that he exists - and he's not even responsible for that.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Jersey Fled said...
This is sickening. A man who's highest ambition in life is for someone to give him stuff without his even asking."

Lazy bums have always been with us. Throughout most of history, though, they weren't coddled and rewarded for being lazy bums.

Sebastian said...

"He's homeless, with headphones?" He found those too, along with food.

walter said...

"not Food Not Bombs. I don’t eat their stuff. I don’t like it because they grab it out of garbage cans and it’s rotten and there’s no meat in it."
Bummer. But their heart's in the right place..
But another says:
“I tend to keep to myself in general. About three or four months ago I lost patience with going out to People’s Park to eat with the Food Not Bombs folks. Though the food is fairly good, there are a lot of people around there who have had very hard times in their lives. They don’t have a lot of education. They’re not exactly the most emotionally mature people on earth. They have a lot of extra challenges. So there’s a lot of screaming and yelling. There are adults who can’t wait in line. Like, a little child is able to wait in line, and they’re not able to. There’s just a lot of craziness over there."

walter said...

Relax folks. You can get in ear headphones for a buck or less.

walter said...

Phones are still an issue apparently. I was involved in a network election coverage shoot that involved interviewing a young homeless man and voting issues. All set up and he didn't show, no way to reach him.

Bob Ellison said...

I've been reading My Brother Ron, which Michael K recommended on this blog recently. It's about a lot of things, most especially mental disease and homelessness and hopelessness.

Only a couple of chapters in, and I'm stunned. The writing, the footnotes, the data, the personal stories...Michael K, thanks.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I’ve been to Arcata and Santa Cruz and I’ve tried Florida. I’ve been around America.

I've been every where man!

Wonderful /sarcasm This guy is a useless drain on society, probably has more money given to him in welfare, SSI, food stamps, free medical care. Money TAKEN from working taxpaying citizens. He has all the latest electronic goodies. Mp3 library and headphones. OBAMAPHONE!!!!

And.....he is proud of it /facepalm

Peter said...

" You can live on almost nothing in terms of money if you can cook for yourself. If you’re relying on restaurant meals, that’s going to drain your accounts much faster."

Well, yes, there's a lot of truth in that. It's reason #8439 why those "How do they expect anyone to actually live on SNAP benefits" stories are almost universally bogus.

Although one does need both the means and the will to do the cooking.

walter said...

I was involved with another non-network project that interviewed him successfully. But it was touch and go..issues with maintaining "his spot" (in a park) and his belongings there.

AllenS said...

He's homeless, with headphones?

Don't worry, I doubt if he had to buy them.

Elizabeth Brittain said...

"I've been to Arcata and Santa Cruz..." Quite possibly the two biggest stoner towns in CA. I love both. Berkeley is Berkeley. It hasn't changed since I was there in the '70s, at least attitude-wise. It's an odd combination of beauty and filth. You can walk down a street with nice, modest, well kept houses except for the one that has overgrown weeds and a bathtub sitting in front. The bathtub house would likely sell for over $800K, possibly a lot over that. Fabulous weather.

fivewheels said...

"Relax folks. You can get in ear headphones for a buck or less."

I think what people will react to is what they're plugged into. Sometimes I see young people in the city, not even looking particularly bedraggled, sitting on the pavement listening to music on their phones while holding a sign begging. It's not an effective sell on a lot of us.

mockturtle said...

I would like to see 'the homeless' triaged into distinct groups.
1. Families down on their luck.
2. Mentally ill.
3. Substance abusers.
4. Homeless by choice.

While there is some overlap, the mentally ill comprise a significant proportion of people living in the street. Our treatment [or lack thereof] of deranged individuals is appalling. If we are shocked by the Bedlam type of institution, why are we not shocked that the mentally ill are turned out into the street to fend for themselves?

exiledonmainstreet said...

Yes, mockturtle, the mentally ill homeless are in a completely different category from those who are simply lazing around.

You would think an advanced, civilized society could come up with other alternatives to care for the mentally ill besides the extremes of locking them up in institutions where they were neglected and abused and letting them fend for themselves on the streets, where they are potential dangers to themselves and others.

Alcoholics and other substance abusers have to want to come clean, and often they don’t until they have no other choice. I remember going along with a friend to an AA meeting many years ago to give her moral support. A older, well-dressed black man said he had gone from living on the streets to being a shop owner and productive member of society. He said he finally sought help when people stopped giving him money. As long as he could scrape together enough for a bottle of cheap wine, he had no desire to quit. That was the first time it occurred to me, a young liberal, that giving street people money might not be the generous and kind act I thought it was.

Jersey Fled said...

Several years ago I was involved with a program that provided food, shelter and counselling help to homeless men in Camden, NJ. I was involved with the program for four years and interacted with probably 50 men. 100% of them had substance abuse problems. Many had family who could support them but finally gave after years of heart break. In those four years I can remember one man who made it through the program, got clean and stayed employed for more than a few weeks.

I ended my involvement when I found out the Director was paying herself $60,000 a year. This was in the early 90's.

walter said...

Right, Jersey. It was/is ikely a "non-profit" org. too.

mockturtle said...

Right, Jersey. It was/is ikely a "non-profit" org. too.

Yes, nonprofit organizations executives' salaries rival those of corporations. Donors beware. This includes 'not-for-profit' hospitals, too, where CEOs often make more than $1M/year.

Rick Turley said...

Heard in a podcast recently that George Foreman grills are quite popular with the homeless and people in SRO situations. In a later part of the show they interviewed George himself and he was quite touched by that. He had no idea. He has a remarkable life story. So poor growing up that he would bring a crumpled brown bag to school and tell the other kids he couldn't wait until lunch so ate it on the way to school.

MikeR said...

When I lived in Berkeley (the '80s) there was a significant homeless population, and a lot of them were mentally ill. Leftovers from the 60s when they had fried their brains on acid and such. It was sad; there wasn't anything you could do for them besides giving them a dollar.

Skippy Tisdale said...

mockturtle said...
I would like to see 'the homeless' triaged into distinct groups.
1. Families down on their luck.
2. Mentally ill.
3. Substance abusers.
4. Homeless by choice.

You left out a fifth group. Homeless youth. When I was younger, I spent years working with that demographic. Many of them have been kicked out of home by their parents who can't accept that they are gay. Others, leave home voluntarily because they are being sexually abused by their mother's boyfriend.

I have known hundreds of homeless youth who made the effort to get a GED (or graduate from school). Many of them went on to college.

Although not all, the overwhelming majority of homeless youth would rather not be living on the street. And shelters tend to be unsafe places for them to stay.

With respect to cellphones, they are useful in securing employment or reporting a crime.

Earnest Prole said...

I think I mentioned it before: Homelessness in the Bay Area exploded in the past five years, particularly in Berkeley and Oakland. I'm predicting the press will discover it shortly (after ignoring it entirely during the Obama years) and blame it on Trump.

Achilles said...

"And just shit like that happens all the time, man. You see a lot of manifestation out here. Manifestation is what I like to call it. When you need something, it just comes to you. As long as you need something important. Something that you actually need, you’ll get it. I don’t know if that’s manifestation or blessings. I guess it’s all the same."

A progressive/leftist voter demonstrating his/her understanding of the economy.

Sample Commenter said...

So poor growing up that he would bring a crumpled brown bag to school and tell the other kids he couldn't wait until lunch so ate it on the way to school.

How did he get so damn big?

Kate said...

"mockturtle said...
I would like to see 'the homeless' triaged into distinct groups.
1. Families down on their luck.
2. Mentally ill.
3. Substance abusers.
4. Homeless by choice.

You left out a fifth group. Homeless youth."

This a million times. Especially the shame of how society treats the mentally ill.

Charlie said...

"I’ve been to Arcata and Santa Cruz and I’ve tried Florida."

I recently visited Santa Cruz and was shocked at the number of homeless sleeping all over the downtown area.

mockturtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mockturtle said...

Regarding the 'homeless youth', there are more than a few who falsely claim to have been kicked out for being gay or assert they have been abused. Often, they just refuse to live by the reasonable rules their parents have set down. I really sympathize with parents of teens nowadays. You're damned if you do and also if you don't.

Bad Lieutenant said...


I think I mentioned it before: Homelessness in the Bay Area exploded in the past five years, particularly in Berkeley and Oakland.

New York City too. Clean looking white kids on midtown corners with signs, sometimes dogs (that's faded). Rough dirty scrawny men and a few women panhandling at expressway entrances and exits, which appals me. Thanks Wilhelm!


I'm predicting the press will discover it shortly (after ignoring it entirely during the Obama years) and blame it on Trump.

Preach it brother! Testify! 👍

Freeman Hunt said...

A woman I know works at a homeless shelter. She says giving to panhandlers is a bad idea because then they do not go to one of the shelters where they not only get food and shelter but medical care, counseling, rehab, and other services.

mockturtle said...

Right, Freeman! Many will not go to shelters because the shelters require them to be clean and sober. There are plenty of basic resources available--except for mental health access. Even parents who know their kids are crazy and a danger to themselves and others can't get help for them. There have been many tragedies in the Seattle/Tacoma area as a result.

Balfegor said...

Re Freeman and Mockturtle:

I think there's also a perception that homeless shelters are unsafe.

Fritz said...

You get more of behavior you subsidize.

mockturtle said...

I think there's also a perception that homeless shelters are unsafe.

Maybe in NYC, I don't know. But the church-run shelters I've seen seem very safe. Of course, there are those who would rather sleep under a bridge and shoot up meth. If we took care of the drug problem and the mental health problem, we'd be at least 2/3 of the way to solving the homeless problem. And much of the crime problem, as well.

PresbyPoet said...

I grew up in a very different Berkeley in the 50's. My father lived there until the 90's. When my son went to college in SF, he moved in with my father. My son started to give money to a panhandler. My son started talking to him, and discovered the panhandler was making more money than my son. A very valuable lesson learned.

Berkeley has been a destination for those seeking for a long time. People's Park is a "gift" from the 60's that keeps on giving.