The Happy Hobo: Keeping clean and fit.

Clothes dryer at East Hotel Hamburg, Germany.

Clothes dryer at East Hotel Hamburg, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You are about to get your Phd in Hobology:

1)      Doing Laundry. This can be a hassle, but the happy hobo is a clean hobo (well, as much as possible). If you can find cheap laundry facilities in your area, try to use them. Seventy-five cents for a wash and a dollar for a dryer load is not unheard of, you just have to know where to look. Some places are verboten for me to do a load on the premises, but at 75 cents, sometimes it is worth it to take a risk. There are cheap washers and dryers in retirement complexes and at hospital apartments for patient families that can be discretely used. If questioned, just mention doing laundry for a sick family member. If your clothes are confiscated, sheepishly ask for the soggy articles back and listen to their dire warnings against ever doing that again. Wait a few months before you lather, rinse and repeat, again. To do your laundry free in a sink is possible for a small load. (Don’t slosh water on the floor. The janitor will hate you.) If you can’t plug the sink, wash your few pieces of clothing in a plastic bag. Just dampen clothes with soapy water and massage the bag until the soap gets everywhere on the clothes. Rinse a few times and air dry your duds in a safe place for about half a day. If you have a dryer available, toss the damp clothes in and run it for 20 minutes or so. A dryer that takes a quarter for 10 or 20 minutes of drying time is ideal.

2)   Keep your feet and legs in good condition. I know, you are not auditioning for the Rockettes. But, most homeless people develop nasty leg conditions for two reasons: They don’t lay down a few hours a day and they move around carrying or pushing a lot of stuff. If you have ever crossed the USA in a Greyhound bus, you would know about leg swelling (edema) because of sitting too long. That’s what happens when people are homeless. Sometimes, they are afraid of the big nasty security guard, so they sleep sitting up instead of laying down. Big mistake. The fluid that needs to be eliminated from your body pools in the extremities and causes swelling. Everyone needs to lay flat for a few hours a day, to get this fluid out of the blood stream and into the kidneys where it can be safely expelled as urine. If the fluid builds up for too long, nasty conditions can develop. Be smart and get some lay down time. Your body needs it.

Well, that’s it. Now you too can be a happy hobo.

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About tjmcfee

Freelance writer. Activist on homeless issues. 48 years old. I write about subjects that need to be examined closely and thoughtfully. The idea for Brain Sections came from reading a book about abandoned asylums. I wanted to set a suspense story in that setting. The inclusion of crazed scientists turning homeless people into zombies is what makes the story unique. View all posts by tjmcfee

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