April 7, 2020

From Vagabond to Vagrant

Like everyone else, this pandemic has had a dramatic impact on our way of life. We are stuck in place. For a vagabond, it's akin to putting a wild pony in a cage.

Vagabond has become a popular word over the last few years, but Dictionary's definition of vagabond is rather negative.
Vagabond (vag-uh-bond):
wandering from place to place without any settled home; nomadic: a vagabond tribe.
leading an unsettled or carefree life.
disreputable; worthless; shiftless.
having an uncertain or irregular course or direction: a vagabond voyage.
a person, usually without a permanent home, who wanders from place to place; nomad.
an idle wanderer without a permanent home or visible means of support; tramp; vagrant.
a carefree, worthless, or irresponsible person; rogue.

It is not news to me that society's view of vagabonds is those who are shiftless, irresponsible, unsettled. Grammarist claims the words vagabond and vagrant are two words that mean the same thing, only with different connotations.

"A vagrant is also someone who has no home or job, but the word carries the connotation of a freeloader, someone who takes advantage of society and is breaking the law. Vagrant is also used as a noun or an adjective."

When the Shelter In Place laws were executed, there were no accommodations made for the vagabonds of this country. Many have been kicked out of campgrounds and off federal land, then told not to wander and yet, given no place to Shelter in Place. Overnight, we all became outlaws. Traveling has become a crime.

This is where you are going to preach to me about the necessity of quarantine and how dangerous and inconsiderate traveling is. I've had my fill of the Quarantine Ethics Police on social media. And you can all go fuck yourselves. I understand the necessity of quarantine. We have been further distanced than 90% of the country. This is a way of life for us and we've got it down to a perfected science. So keep your idiotic opinions of my lifestyle to yourselves. I don't want to hear it.

There was a time when Americans understood travelers. Society saw the immigrants who came to this country looking for something better as hopeful, remember the pioneers who settled the west as courageous and those farmers escaping the Dust Bowl during the 1930's as desperate souls. But in this time of social conformity, travelers are seen as strange, curious vagrants.

I don't want to be strapped down to the obligation of property. I want to be free to wander my country. The most American thing I've ever done has been to see America, to get to know people from other states, other cultures, other lives. It is because of my love for this country that I want to see it, visit it, know it, breathe it and become part of every bit of it. How can that be a crime?

This scene from Easy Rider says it best.
George Hanson : Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em.
Billy : Well, it don't make 'em runnin' scared.
George Hanson : No, it makes 'em dangerous.

Perhaps I am dangerous. Perhaps those of you who fear this way of life are right to fear me. But you couldn't ever fear me as much as I fear you. All of you who are so willing to conform to the government without question are the terrifying monsters my nightmares are made of.

1 comment:

  1. At one point, there were flag-waving Americans crying out "from my cold dead hands". All it took was fear to turn them into Pandemic Police.


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