Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Technical Question

To: Project Engineer
Re: Non-Soil Materials, Structural Fill

Note attached image. Prior experience suggests this object is most likely "hobo underwear, used, 1pr, size medium".

Please advise on suitability for inclusion and/or recommended course of action.


(Note 1: the site I'm working was the campground for a fairly large contingent of the local homeless folks. With all the earthwork they have scampered but left a considerable assortment of their stuff behind. I jokingly commented that I was pretty much okay with the occasional pop bottle or tin can but I drew the line at used hobo underwear. So I'm still not sure whether this was a bizarre coincidence or whether I'm being pranked like a boss by someone on the earthwork crew...)

(Note 2: And this story brings back the story I told you seven years ago about the woods, the girl, and the gorilla.)


Ael said...

It really is awful how a rich society as ours ends up with encampments of homeless people. I am certain that the costs of not providing at least some form of shelter are enormous and born without a thought.

Attempts to provide basic shelter are met with outrage (or even worse, are twisted into subsidies for the rentier classes while the homeless remain hidden in the forest.)

FDChief said...

My experience is that the truly hardcore homeless often have a host of troubles that have exhausted every possible shelter; family, friends, charities...the combination of hopelessness, often mental health issues, physical ailments, and (often) addiction make trying to provide them with a place to lives damn deadly difficult.

Throw in the likelihood that they can't hold down even a menial sort of job...

I admit that all that means is that I'm like a zillion other people willing to basically throw these people away because figuring out how to help them live a decent life is hard.

Emotionally I think that a nation that can afford eleven fleet carriers can figure out how to do that. Intellectually I think that the problem is that we lack not the wealth but the will. We just don't give enough of a shit.

Ael said...

Very true, except that we don't simply throw them away. We pay large sums of money to deal with them. Ambulances, police, hospital emergency care, fire departments, prisons, lawyers, judges etc. etc. are not cheap.

My city pays three or four times the price of a nice apartment for each homeless person in programs that homeless people consume the largest share of resources. The police/ EMT/ fire departments/ hospitals are forever dealing with crisis situations dealing with the homeless.

I get that we don't care, but we are willing to spend big money on the consequences of not caring. It makes no sense to me.

FDChief said...

I think it's because those costs are "invisible"; for example Portland doesn't break out the social costs of the various services used by and for the homeless. As opposed to some sort of comprehensive program to house these folks, deal w whatever issues got them outdoors to begin with. THAT will always be a bullseye for the Norquististas who don't hate taxes nearly as much as they hate spending them on "those people". Actuarial realities mean nothing to those people. It's about punishing the homeless for their filth and shiftlessness.

mike said...

Regarding the underwear, consider it a prank. Any self-respecting hobo would wear long johns, and not whitey-tighteys.

I blame Reagan for the homeless situation we have today.

But with all due respect to those among us who live out of shopping carts, I would opine there are no hobos among them. Hobos were migrant workers, albeit homeless, but always moving from place to place looking for work. It was mostly agricultural work, but they also washed dishes in diners or chopped firewood for a meal, or swept and swabbed saloons and roadhouses for board and room, or loaded and unloaded freight for a ride in the back of a truck to the next town or next state.

Unfortunately, today, there are no such jobs available for the homeless. And of the few that are available the Mexicans have a lock on it. And God Bless them for it. How do you say hobo in Spanish? Never mind, they would take it as an insult, even though it is not meant that way. My father, as a teenager spent some time on the hobo trail in the 1930s, from Virginia to New England to the Deep South and Texas, and then to the Northwest. Before that, one of my grandmother's brothers was an itinerant Wobbly working the mines and lumbercamps of a dozen states. To my family being called a Hobo would not be an indignity.

FDChief said...

mike: good point. The bindlestiffs and Brothers of the Road back in the day had it hard, but it wasn't The Bottom. There was a certain dignity that remained. Today's homeless people, sadly, truly do have nothing, not even humanity in the eyes of many of us.