Almost home

Each day after my workout, I find myself getting dressed next to a guy who is clearly homeless. Instead of unpacking a gym bag, he carries into the locker room a camping-style backpack with a compartment for a sleeping bag. He doesn’t seem like he’s preparing to exercise, but more like he’s found a place to set down his belongings and rest for a while.

This fellow is actually the second homeless person I’ve come across at the gym in the early morning. The first was a gentleman who was in terrible need of an orthopedic foot specialist. He walked with a severe and clearly painful limp, but in spite of everything seemed in good spirits. I once overheard his conversation with a fellow member, explaining how he used the gym to shower, and charge his cellphone. When you have no other options, the gym is not a bad home base for less than $50 month. This all took place pre-COVID, before the government closed the gym for months, and the showers indefinitely. I haven’t seen him since the gym re-opened.

When you consider the various low-status victims of COVID restrictions — kids locked out of school, nursing home residents pressing their slender palms against window glass, women in labor alone — remember also the way governments demolished a foothold for the homeless.

While exposing hypocrisy is the weakest form of persuasion, I must point out that for all of the media’s concern about the underprivileged, they ignored the plight of the homeless during lockdowns. When researching this post, I found exactly one article, from a Los Angeles rag dated March 16, 2020, titled “Gym Shutdown Means No Showers For Homeless.” And nothing since.

Perhaps the managerial class holds a grudge against the homeless for undermining their COVID narrative. From the very beginning, the circumstances around the homeless made no sense. The homeless didn’t social distance, didn’t wear masks, lived with poor hygiene, and later, likely avoided vaccination. And yet, there were never any piles of dead bodies underneath the bridges.

Go figure.

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