Laurie Notaro Has a Hobo Problem

Categories: Literary

Laurie Notaro is an author, crafter, and expert at finding a good cocktail. She grew up in Phoenix, but is currently based in Eugene, Oregon. Each week, she'll be joining us to share a crafting adventure, draw a flowchart, or remember a few of her favorite things about Phoenix. Today, she tells the story of her recent encounters with hobos and yoga people.

laurienotarohobo3.jpg
Laurie Notaro
"Holy shit, there's a body in there!" my husband said as he looked at me with wide eyes and backed away from the bushes he had been poking at a moment ago.

I just shook my head and closed my eyes.

"You know what?" I yelled loud enough for all of our neighbors to hear me. "I HATE THE YOGA PEOPLE! I hate them! This is all of their fault!"

I was enraged. It was all of their fault; after all, I was certain to a reasonably certain degree that someone from the yoga studio behind my house had reported everyone on my side of the street to the city and we all received warning letters of complaint as a result.

Apparently, the hedges that lined the back portion of our yards became something of an inconvenience to the people who decided to start using our alley as a short cut into the yoga parking lot, and they wanted the problem addressed.

If the bushes were a little overgrown and a branch had the yearning to reach out and scratch a Range Rover driven by a woman in a tank top and jeggings, I wouldn't know, but I sure would laugh if I did. The alley is not some place that we wander freely, mainly because it is not territory that belongs to us.

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Laurie Notaro
Once you step out of the back gate and into the hinterlands, it's like stepping into Narnia, but one that smells like urine and constantly has the clanging of glass bottles knocking together as they jostle about in a freshly stolen Safeway shopping cart, which I have since learned is the native call of the hobo.

I'd like to mention here that some people have insisted to me that "hobo" is an impolite term, and that I should use something a little more politically correct, like "residentially-challenged" or "free-range tenant." But frankly, I don't see a problem with the word hobo, nor do I understand why some people believe it to be derogatory.

I believe "hobo" to have a genteel, jaunty connotation to it; I believe it to be a jocular reference to someone might have fallen on hard times but is making the very best go of it. I would much prefer picture my hobo humming to himself, happy all the time, carrying around his stuff on a stick and taking a sip from a flask every now and then than opening my eyes to the fact that a residentially challenged squatter is shooting up methamphetamine between his toes roughly 30 feet from my back door.


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14 comments
imagine31393
imagine31393

Big fangirl of yours Laurie, and a kindred spirit. I have avoided that Safeway soup bar, hosed blazing oleanders in the early AM in PJ's, dismantled camps, snuck clean blankets in others, and really miss my very first olean-bor who would imbibe, then sit on the irrigation box on my front corner and call races. You capture the "urban" experience with humor and without cruelty. MY ONLY COMPLAINT? My snort laugh is sooooo embarrassing and yet you ambush me again and again.......

macdon
macdon

My husband bought corn at a roadside stand one day, and when he got home he announced, "I bought corn from some guy on the side of the road." My oldest daughter said, "You bought corn from a HOBO???"  We have been buying Hobo Corn (our affectionate term for the world's best corn on the cob) from that same hobo for about 5 years now!

LeaAnne
LeaAnne

Okay, seriously - I also had a tree/dumpster set ablaze in Tempe when my husband and I dismantled what we referred to as the "hobo hole" on the side of our house.  And I was standing in the yard with the hose when the fire department came. That's some weird hobo-similarity we share!

ohfortheloveofgod
ohfortheloveofgod

oh my.  Well, whenever he's ready, we are, too.  :)

Perhaps it would be good therapy for him to write about it?  ;)

antoniamurphyNZ
antoniamurphyNZ like.author.displayName 1 Like

Feeling of impending doom as I realize that I USED TO EAT THAT SAFEWAY SOUP ALL THE TIME.  And I wasn't even homeless!  Just employed in the arts and therefore very, very broke.  I'm thinking the only solution is a mouthwash made from equal parts Listerine, bleach, and boiling water.  Your thoughts?

antoniamurphyNZ
antoniamurphyNZ

Feeling of impending doom as I realize that I USED TO EAT THAT SAFEWAY SOUP ALL THE TIME.  And I wasn't even homeless!  Just employed in the arts and therefore very, very broke.  I'm thinking the only solution is a mouthwash made from equal parts Listerine, bleach, and boiling water.  Your thoughts?

sickofsickenedssort
sickofsickenedssort

Hey sickened, ever been to Eugene?  There are very few human beings dying alone in the street.  The author is not making fun of *homelessness*.  She sharing a humorous anecdote about *one individual homeless person* who chose to set up shop in her bushes and shit in her garden.  Can you not tell the difference between "individual incident" and "ALL the things!"?

sickened
sickened

I'm glad that the author is able to deal with other human beings beings dying alone in the street by gorging herself on pizza and watching Disney pablum. 

 

What a sickening, vapid and pointless article. 

RollingMyEyes
RollingMyEyes like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @sickened Honestly, you strike me as a sanctimonious idiot.  I can't believe that that sentence is what you chose to distill a several page, well written (and very funny) article into.  When I was mugged, I watched Disney 'pablum' and had some comfort food too... because something awful had happened. 

 

As far as I can tell, it's not Ms. Notaro's job to provide for everyone, nor is it someone's right to trespass into the yard/house that she pays for.  And when she did react with a live and let live attitude, someone defecated into her garlic bed. 

 

Seriously, people like YOU make me sick - when was the last time you helped someone by anything other than flaming on a newspaper comments section?

sickened
sickened

 @RollingMyEyes Yeah, it's hilarious to repeatedly refer to homeless people as a different species. 

 

But you make a good point about my failure to help- so here: The next time the author buys a pizza, don't eat the whole thing. Share it with the homeless, and improve your health. 

JustDoIt
JustDoIt

Careful, be very careful, go watch the movie "Hobo, with a shotgun" and steer clear of the wildlife, just takes one shot to i.e. "Make your day". You would think police would be quick to resolve this, as being a vagrant is illegal right, but I am sure they are busy giving out “No turn on Red” tickets, and hunting down real offenders like the guy yelling at his wife, I have seen 4-5 cars maybe 10-12 officers helping those two out, so obviously they are short handed, maybe hire more officers?

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