Friday, December 31, 2010

Excuse Me, Are You Visiting or Have You Moved In? The Freeloader Nightmare (1)

By Miriam B. Medina

Shanty towns or squatter communities known as "Hooverville's" during President Hoover's term as President (or back in the day as my son might say) began to sprout up all over the United States because of the fallout from the Great Depression. These ragtag "communities" were composed of people who had been evicted from their homes or their farms. These individuals, labeled hobos, were forced to live a degrading existence among grotesque piles of accumulated trash, made of discarded public scraps of food they had to eat or of various items of value that they could sell. The poor and disposed would cook their meager portions of food in tin cans over open fires, covering themselves with old newspapers while wearing Hoover shoes with holes in the soles. The only scenery was blurred by dust in the summer and mud in the winter as they inhaled the stench from all of the trash and the extremely unsanitary dilapidated outhouses. These poor Depression era hobos, though, are no comparison to today's modern freeloaders, lazy, selfish people who are calculating in their tactics, and who by no means suffer as much as those displaced victims of the Great Depression.

Yes we're suffering, and indeed the times, they are a changing, but eating banana peels and wearing newspapers is not the same as eating all of your family or friends potato chips while you watch a re-run of Friends on their cable TV. With today's economic crisis, many people have had to depend on family, friends and relatives to help them out until they get over their financial set back. However, the thing is, too many find this life of "luxury" very accommodating, and so they remain as permanent guests taking advantage of a loved one's hospitality. This is no new occurrence, it's just happening more often today thanks to our lovely crumbling economy, but I, for one, think free-loading is wrong, and it must be stopped. There's a difference between visiting a loved one and commandeering their home.

Here's, an example. Several years ago my husband and I moved to Florida. Every year we would come back to New Jersey to visit family and friends. Well, my husband was always inviting everyone to come down to Florida and stay at our house, so they didn't have to spend money on a hotel, forgetting that we were only renting a small 2 bedroom apartment. Naturally everyone jumped at the opportunity, including his drinking buddies, who came in a car loaded with suitcases and booze. I was working the graveyard shift at the Post Office and needed to sleep during the day. Well, one time, it seems that our bedroom was offered to his drinking buddy and his buddy's wife, while I had to make do crammed into my two little kids' room. These moochers came empty-handed and ate as there was no tomorrow. One week turned into two weeks, which looked as if it would be extending to more. I told my husband to kick them out which he refused to do saying that they were his guests, and that would be rude on his part. I was furious, working nights, and not getting proper sleep. During the day, they went down to the beach or explored the area, having a grand old time. The woman did nothing to help me. I couldn't take it anymore. I called around to hotels in the area and asked what their prices were, and when the couple returned that afternoon, I told them that they had to leave, it was two weeks already, and I needed my room back. The man said he was paying my husband $20.00 a week for the room, which was ridiculous... Imagine thinking that $20.00 a week was going to cover the cost of 3 square meals a day plus my room for two people. No way Jose, has he had to be out of his mind. Well I must say after they saw how mad I was, they got the message loud and clear immediately calling a nephew who lived in the area. That annoyed me even more, knowing that they had a nephew that lived nearby, and I had to be inconvenienced by this pair of moochers. So instead of going to a hotel where they had to pay, they ended up in their nephew's house. Good riddance, finally, but that still didn't stop the flow of guests coming and going and free-loading off of us. This created a lot of hostility between my husband and me. Finally, after 7 years of acting like a drunken bed and breakfast, we moved back to New Jersey. That stopped the family and friends from visiting.

To be Continued: Page:2 The Freeloader's Nightmare

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