"What a wonder life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

Apr 9, 2016

They Call Me a Vagabond

I very nearly gave up, but I’m rearing my activist head to try to make a point.  Again.

There are two things in the news about which you may have heard at least a snippet: fair housing/civil rights denied the LGBT community; and the United Nations tackling mass expulsions of refugees.  Both issues affect me directly, and here’s why:

I’m poor.  I'm rich (by now) in ingenuity, creativity and optimism, yet I survive on less than $11,000 a year.  Could you?  Poverty is never a popular subject, so my goal today is to avoid a boring Whiner-Baby tale while keeping you entertained enough to make it to the end.

Let’s begin with fair housing for the LGBT community.  Yes, absolutely, and while we’re examining the law for change, let's include some other maligned groups as well.  My argument is bolstered by the following thirteen-plus classes protected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights¹: 

(sic) “(Parties) should respect and ensure (one’s) rights, without distinction of any kind such as 
SEX, RACE, COLOUR, LANGUAGE, RELIGION or CONVICTION, POLITICAL or other opinion, NATIONAL, ETHNIC or SOCIAL ORIGIN, NATIONALITY, AGE, ECONOMIC POSITION, PROPERTY, MARITAL STATUS, BIRTH or other status.

These are America’s seven:  SEX, RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, NATIONAL ORIGIN, DISABILITY and FAMILIAL STATUS.

Here’s what we’re missing:  POLITICAL or Other Opinion, AGE, ECONOMIC POSITION, PROPERTY, MARITAL STATUS, LANGUAGE, ETHNIC or SOCIAL ORIGIN.

Surprising, yes?  Perhaps you’re in one of those unsung groups, too…not even age? If you are denied housing based on one of the 'missing' reasons and lodge a complaint, you don't have a leg to stand on.

Following decades of working and contributing to the government trough (from which I now feed), several years ago I found myself one rung shy of homelessness; a truly frightening experience.  If it wasn’t for Uncle Sam’s help I’d likely be living in a box under a bridge.  Not everyone is so fortunate, and thank God I’m not caring for children.

Discrimination due to my purse and property is something I never in my wildest dreams imagined I’d be experiencing first hand; and locating affordable, safe housing, or in my case parking, has been a particularly thorny path.

To my second point, the UN decree also declares: (sic) “Migrants and members of their families shall not be subject to measures of collective expulsion; (have) the right to freely move in the territory of the State of employment and freely choose their residence there; and enjoy the same opportunities and treatment as nationals in relation to various economic and social services.”

Imagine a hotel or restaurant demanding you park your car around back due to its age or condition, or denied access entirely, as was my case. “No way,” you boast, “I’d turn and leave.”  But what if those were the only choices and your kids are crying, hungry and tired; and you're scared there's no alternatives down the road?  At the moment this scenario is entirely possible, and legal. Imagine the far-reaching consequences down this philosophical road, please.

FYI, as members of the human race we are ALL protected by United Nations decrees, regardless of whether our individual governments have signed; which in my example the United States and most First World nations have yet to do.  This makes much of their outrage of the current migrant crisis in the Middle-East sound like a whole lot of two-faced hooey.

I’m a migrant; a self-employed artist whose dream is to travel the art show circuit for business opportunities.  I choose to live in an affordable, older Recreational Vehicle (RV) rather than be a single  Senior trapped in the Projects.  Call me silly. This decision, and the resulting discrimination I am about to describe, stopped that dream dead in its tracks.

Due to supply and demand, more and more privately-owned RV parks are implementing (unposted) vehicular age restriction policies, yet making arbitrary exceptions following highly personal interrogations. (Read more here)  It's only gotten worse since I first ran into the problem in 2012.

They call me a Vagabond.  I’ve already been thrown out of one RV park  for being 'too old' and kicked off private property due to county restrictions.  For the past 2 years I’ve lived like a scared rabbit, illegally parked on another friend’s property outside the city limits; praying each time an official vehicle drives by that they don’t notice me.

Now in a 1992 model, I’m heading to New Jersey to share what quality time I can with Mom, who’s been diagnosed with a form of Dementia.  My RV is self-contained because I’m already psyching myself up for possible roustings in the middle of the night along the way if I’m trapped somewhere without a place to park.  It does something to your soul, believe me or not.

Some communities here in Oregon are looking to ‘ship’ their homeless, en masse, to other communities. That sounds just a tad like mass expulsion to me. Talk about heartless!  Me, I’ve been working like a street-dog trying to create a comfortable, restful environment inside my 21-foot Winnebago. If I’m battling the ugliness of the outside world, I want to feel at peace inside my home.

So if you see my RV parked inconspicuously under a tree in your neighborhood, please don’t call the cops.  I promise I’ll be gone in the morning.


1 comment:

  1. People call you vagabond? So, who cares? Your life, your style. Live how you like.


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