public space... shared space... making public space private...

this is a difficult topic
I know that people will offer up a more diplomatic line of logic
yet I will spit out this thought just the same
as I am a little agitated by all the trash pick up I have been having to do in the woods by my house

each day I pass beer cans and liquor bottles...
wrappers from junk food...

it is there... I march past it once... twice... then I leave out my house with a bag and pick it up as it is clear that no one else is going to clean up after these people

I try to be sensitive to the plight of others
I try to offer up compassion and understanding
I know that people can fall on hard times
I realize that mental illness is a plague in his country

but... but... but...

which brings me to this

homelessness is an epidemic in urban areas in the United States
it is not clear if the homeless are from this area or migrate here

no matter on the how or why... but it is clear that this is a growing issue in this country 
it has an effect on our day to day

it is more than the panhandler on the sidewalk...
heck... some of these people are my "friends"
over the years I have built minor relationships with an assortment of people all around the city
usually offering up used clothing or dog food as assistance rather than my pocket change that really is not spare
some of these people I look forward to interacting with... while others I accept our morning exchanges and try to leave it at that

but that is not my problem...
it is more about the camping around the city
not just under the bridges but in our parks
the urban parks and the wooded parks

it is irksome when I find that people are camping in the woods near my house
for years I encountered this in Rock Creek Park
now I am experiencing it in the little bit of woods near my house
people setting up camp... their trash... their foot print
but beyond that... their presence

the camping brings about an array of issues
I am irked by the footprint that tent creates
I am bothered by the trash that surrounds their camping spots
just as they camp their... they must release their bodily waste in the area around them
this is not sustainable

and beyond that
I am anxious about the notion of allowing my children to hike the dog or play in these woods with these people "living" there

their use of this public space makes this area somewhat private

their presence will keep other people from feeling comfortable about using this space

inappropriate use of space

this happens in our parks... this happens in other public areas

public libraries are often chill out zones for homeless people
making it such that these areas are not comfortable places to be used as they were designed
when my children were little it was exhausting having me run advance screening of public bathrooms before my kids used the urinal and the sink

I was more times then not forced to clean up the area for my children when they were small

now that my kids are a little older they travel to these places on their own
subjected to the irresponsible use of space

city parks have become the domicile of the homeless
often the homeless occupants are territorial
seemingly aggressive to anyone entering "their space"
other panhandling politely unless their request is refused then they show their true disgruntle persona

there is a spot along side Rock Creek Park down by the Kennedy Center
I would drive by there and see this tent village
a little homeless community
with their collection of stuff... where did they get this stuff
did they go to bicycle shops to buy those bicycles?

were those tents donated to them?
why are they allowed to be there?

I have been run out of camp sites for camping out of season

how can someone throw down a tent and just call that place home?

what is the solution?
what is the answer?

well... better services

better education prepping people for life
better services for the mentally ill
safer shelters

I do not know

all I know is these people are not monks and priests
these are the fringe of society
many of which are shady... many of which leave me ill at ease...
while I may be okay with the tension and anxiety of an encounter with a homeless person and their possessiveness of their use of space

it bothers me to think that my kids would have to contend with this sort of individual

my thoughts here are not popular thoughts
I want what is best for them
I want what is best for me
I want the world to be safe for my children

my older son rows at the boathouse across from that tent community under the bridge near the Kennedy Center
too close for comfort


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