Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hostility to Hostelry: Hostels as Latter-Day Rooming Houses

Why do people fall through the cracks? Because the gaps are so wide, that's why. Modern American culture offers many frills and thrills, but not much of a safety net. I mean, who has a nuclear family any more these days?  Has it occurred to anyone that maybe we'd have fewer homeless people if we had more boarding houses? Is that un-American now? America is schizophrenic. 

America is in denial. America is misguided. America is under the false impression that somehow we can all become middle-class suburbanites if only we try hard enough and control our wilder impulses, while staying one step ahead of the rest of the world, without bothering to ask if that's what everybody really wants or whether it's genuinely open to all, not just those who are already there. 

In other words: Get a suit-and-tie golden-umbrella Plymouth-in-the-parking-lot career or sleep in the park: hell of a choice.  Boarding houses don't exist anymore—not really. They've pretty much been zoned out of existence in America. Thus a single man or woman has no easy way in to a new city with a new job and a new life, especially not considering the crap that is felt to be 'essential' in modern-day America: mostly consumer junk and high-tech life-style add-ons.

Only immigrants are willing to live like the working-class and they work many of those break-in jobs that native-born Americans would've been proud to have fifty years ago, but not now. Now many of those mostly-white upper-middle-class Americans form a special sub-class in the upper hierarchy of society in which they get the high-paid jobs to pay their college debt—or live in Mom and Pop's basement. The losers in this game can sleep in the park. Welcome to America.

(Disclaimer: I am a great promoter and erstwhile owner of a hostel, and party to the general knowledge a day late and a dollar short that they have no official legal status, i.e. subject to the whims and whips of the local chief Building Official; too bad—i.e. sad and pathetic).