“Be thankful, and more importantly – whether it be a person, a flower, a bug, anything- to produce more in the universe to be thankful for.”
One dominating stereotype of the homeless population is that homelessness is by choice, with up to 62% of the population holding that belief.¹ This “choice” may be perceived as laziness or irresponsible behavior. Homeless stereotypes are often based on observation, teachings, and perhaps a certain sense of willful ignorance. Though lacking in scientific data, stereotypes exist for a reason. However, even stereotypes that do prove themselves in circumstantial matters are still oversimplified and fail to adhere to the complexity of any given situation.
Scooby chooses to be homeless. His choice is based on neither laziness nor delinquency, rather a quest to learn about himself and society through observing others from a new perspective. Scooby was open-minded, insightful, and avid on being a productive member of the community. He accepted stereotypes held against him as perfectly valid efforts of a human’s natural instinct to protect themselves from someone who may seem at first intimidating.
“I have been out here for seven years. I am out here by choice and I am here to learn. People may see us doing the same thing everyday but it is unfathomable what I have learned from human nature.”
What is one piece of advice you can give me from your experience out here?
“To be thankful, and more importantly – whether it be a person, a flower, a bug, anything- to produce more in the universe to be thankful for. In many ways, talking to people can be compared to the knowledge you gain from reading a book. What I have failed to read, I have experienced in many cases.
This is a learning experience for me. I like to think my experience can be a learning experience for others as well. I want to learn about people and this is an excellent perspective to do that from. When you’re out here [on the streets] people think you’re a virus, but it’s not to say that is undeserved, because you have to protect yourself. People are going to shy away from strangers who seem intimidating and I understand that. Protecting yourself and protecting your family is part of human nature and who am I to get offended by human nature? That’s why I’m surprised you’re talking to me, but I guess you’re here to learn too. If people meet me a first time, they find me more approachable just because I am very polite and soft-spoken.”
You say you want to learn and be learned from, what do you mean by that?
“I want to be an ambassador of goodwill, a mercenary of faith for the people living on the streets. I’m a good person and just here to learn and I have met a lot of other good people who have taken the same path as me.”
As we were talking, a woman in uniform came up to him and asked if he wanted to help her walk through the streets for a ‘pickup’. He agreed to do so once he finished his conversation with me. I asked him who she was and if he had a job.
“I actually don’t know who she is, she just saw me picking up trash one day and has been coming up asking me if I want to help her clean up the streets, so I just do that a few times a week.
Is that what you do for money?
“No. I just do it to give back to the community a bit. There are times when people give me a meal or food and I don’t have anything to give in return but my service. I think it’s really important to have a strong relationship with your community.”
- Public Attitudes Toward The Homeless- https://www.amstat.org/sections/srms/proceedings/y2011/Files/400188.pdf