We have left the cool of the hinterland country a day or two early and for reasons that I hadn’t though would bother us. It’s hotter down here on the coastal skirt of land but what has bought us down from the heavens is a date with a mate, though a day or two earlier than we first planned which was unexpected.
The weather in the bush on the plateau was cool to delightful but here on the coastal fringe it is bordering on summer muggy, which you notice after such pleasant days as we had in the forest.
What caused us to leave early was the arrival of a group of bl**dy men who set up camp in the middle of everyone. Redneck males are a pain… and there seems to be more of these single male rednecks about lately too. They seem to all be around 40-65yrs, many with substance abuse problems or suffering the consequence of this or that. All are living a lonely life or a life on the lone.
It was the arrival of this group of rowdy rednecks into the camp, which disrupted every freecamper there and drove most of us to leave what we had been enjoying but had lost on their arrival… the peace. It was plain to see that a fight was spoiling between two groups of campers… one group of men who liked the quiet and the few new rednecks who enjoyed the racket. We didn’t particularly want to stay around to watch it all unfold so we left early.
Aside from this, have you noticed the growing phenomena of our times, the numbers of itinerant men about in society? In the age of women’s liberty where women are no longer dependant on men for their survival, their happiness or their comfort, it is evident that in some things women are doing quite well… much better socially than they have ever done in our cultural history. Have you noticed the men who are footloose, fancy free and quite often destitute having arrived there through a circumstance that degenerates often into choice.
Destitution for some is a choice, the choice of substance abuse often over and above comfort and sadly even, at times, life. Some years ago when we took in a young ‘destitute’ woman and sent her off to complete her schooling… she was underage at the time… it came as a shock to me to learn that destitution can also be a choice, one she had made at the time. I figure that destitution is very much in the opinion of the observer, or the person who finds themselves homeless unexpectedly. I considered this lass destitute as in the meaning of the word it is defined as ‘extremely poor and with no means to provide for oneself’ The lass clearly qualified.
Many of the footloose men we have met in the forests, the freecamps and even parked on the banks of the river are there usually by choice. Many are not destitute, they have the means often but not the willpower or desire. So what do you call these men?
History provides us with many examples, some romanticised by literature, other where their label in history has connotations of what is undesirable. Time will judge I don’t doubt and give this arm of our society an apt definition but in the meantime, will we borrow from history in the search for what to call these men.
Here are some names that history has given such men (and women):
Hobo or Tramp: A homeless person, tramp or vagrant.
Vagrant: A homeless person who travels on foot looking for work.
Sundowner: A Aussie term for a man who arrives at sundown seeking work, is fed and housed on the expectation of doing work the next day but is usually gone at sunup.
Swagman: An Aussie term for a wandering male, carrying a swag or bag of belongings.
Bum: A person who devotes a great deal of time to one activity… ie ski-bum, ungrateful bum, bummed around… etc. The activity is usually considered of little worth.
The list goes on… but perhaps you can think of some titles yourself to add to the commentary. My personal favourite is hobo-sapien … seems apt somehow. The female version would be hobo-sapient just to be fair.
Best of all though is that the freecamp where we are now planted is delightful. The people are great, the location is lovley and the river is cool. Don’tcha luv it!