The Brotherhood

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is the feelings of someone that has lived on the street.

Submitted: May 11, 2008

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Submitted: May 11, 2008




Living on the street is a different experience from most modern life. For instance, there is no regular TV or computers. Apart from human interaction, there is only the battery operated radio and the discarded newspaper. Night time is for sleep, not tripping the lights fantastic. There is no safe place to put your things (eg clothes, wallets or smokes) and having a shower can be a chore.

On the other hand, you get to see the dawn, sunset and twilight. Occasionally you will notice the distant stars despite the city lights.The parks which the "ordinary" people will flood into lunch and the weekends to get away from it all, are your playground for the rest of the week.

I guess you could look at us as the "Brotherhood." We are certainly looked as something seperate to normal society. We can usually spot each other as we walk past each other and since we are in a common plight, we have common things to talk about. Not all the "Brotherhood" are poorly educated, though, of course, a lot are.You occasionaly find uni drop outs (like myself), tradesmen etcetera.The "Brotherhood" spans a wide spectrum of society.

If you are part of the "Brotherhood" and you have no work whatsoever, then you really have nothing to do during the working hours. I have heard others complaining of the fact. I tend to agree. However, I am lucky and I have something to do. I wake up from the alcove and immediately start work. There is literally nothing else to do. If I had more money and less bills, I might consider "doing the tourist." However, money is money and it allows you to eat differently from the food vans. It also pays for the smokes and the occassional tipple.

The work I do is good. It's outdoors and you meet lots of people from different walks of life. In fact people that you normally wouldn't meet except under very formal and possibly uncomfortable circumstances you meet every day. The money I get is not good, but you can smoke as much as you want and nobody seems to mind. That's the way it used to be in the early eighties and before. For me, it is a pleasant reliving of the past.

In fact living on the streets is really in a way living in the past, with a bit of roughing it thrown in. Because there is only the radio to listen to, people have to reinvent the art of conversation. The job I got helps, since you have to talk to people all the time. I remember how my grandmother used to live her life by the radio and conversation, hardly ever acknowledging the TV. This life I am leading is very much the same. TVs are something you see on displays and hear very rarely. Something like what children were supposed to be like according to her!

It's not the best way to live however. If you get dead drunk you will get rolled. Of course, you do not need to be drunk to get rolled but it makes it easier for the thief. Also some of the people you meet have some real problems and I am not just talking about the ones in the "Brotherhood." Some "ordinary" people can't get it around their heads is that all you need is misfortune and you could be sleeping on the streets. Screaming, "Get a job ya bum!" and throwing urine over someone sleeping might make the perpetrator feel like a hero, but he ain't...

What else? Well, food's expensive if you don't go to the food vans.You have to rely takeaways. Cooking is not an option. You try and find a barbeque in Sydney City, they're rarer than hen's teeth. So to avoid the expense, you get the takeaway specials that are sometimes not so special. However, if you hunt around or wait until after nine at night, you'll find cheap food which the "ordinary" people don't want. Please people out there, remain fussy, people like me need your selective tastes in order to survive.

Then, there's when the weather turns bad. I work in the rain because I need the money, but when it gets too much, I bow to Mother Nature and find cover. At night, unless you're under some sort of cover, it is a disaster. Once you're in your sleeping bag your body keeps you pretty warm, or if that doesn't work, after the storm just walk around in your wet clothes.They warm and dry quite quickly, believe me.

Another problem is you have to carry everything with you. It can be quite a pain. If you find a safe place to store or hide yourself, it's OK, but brother, you have it out in the open and it'll be stolen or disposed of quick smart. It is surprising how much your worthless trash becomes someone else's treasure.

Toilets are a problem, especially at night. Railway stations close in the early morning and if you get the runs you might find you have dumped in your pants before you found somewhere. Trying to find a nice quiet spot to clean up the mess is even more difficult.

Illicit drugs? Yep, it's there like the rats that swarm across the parks at night. Why do some (not myself, I prefer licit drugs like alchohol) of the "Brotherhood take it? Live the life for a couple of weeks. But then again you probably already take illicit drugs, so what makes you? It might be the same reason.

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