Of goats and trolls
Well it looks like they’ve thumbed south for the winter, those homeless people who had taken up residence under the bridge behind our house. When I say “homeless”, I only use that term for want of a better one. They look like a cross between the “New Age Travelers” that used to live in caravans, buses and other wheeled transportation/house hybrids at the bottom of Gorebridge when I was growing up, the tree-sitting, dreadlock-sporting, tooth-donating, clothes-layering, drum-beatin’ fezzas of Tasmania, and the crowd at a Levellers gig. They also don’t have that down-and-out look of genuine homeless people; a blank stare, clouded over eyes and shuffled feet. In their mid-to-late twenties, most of them appear to be living this lifestyle by choice, a kind of dismissal of society, replacing it instead with a life consisting of oddly shaped dogs on bits of string, backpacks, and sleeping (substitute with shouting, fighting, drinking, as required) under bridges.
My real gripe isn’t with the people themselves; it’s with the publishers of whatever guide-book they use to find their night’s accommodation. I’m sure there must be a Lonely Planet for North American Society Drop-outs, or a Rick Steves’ “Guide to the Underside of the Bridges of Northern California”. Whatever they use, the bridge behind our house must have a fairly good rating; four stars for comfort, three for cleanliness of amenities, and a big five out of five for the friendly natives.