ONCE A BEGGAR…

Somebody slipped Kyohei Sakaguchi’s Zero Yen Houses under the door.

That is all about beggars now!
It really takes nothing to become one. Say you have a girlfriend or wife / job and the car / some taste for drinking. The former and the latter interact and this might affect your performance at work, which calls for more drinks and consequently more issues with girlfriend or wife.

Drinking, arguments, more drinking,
the job is gone.

Second night you hate yourself, put your hands on your heart and try to resist to drinking for the very first time. Then you get even drunker, cannot handle a new quarrel with girlfriend/wife and go sleep in a Motel.

Say we mention Bateson (Cybernetics of “Self”: A Theory of Alcholism, 1971): You are taken into a speeding vortex of symmetrical Pride and can barely stand complementary roles anymore – be that girlfriend, wife, boss.

No one tells you how to feel.

Motel is comfy, you reiterate.
Unfortunately, both Motels and the Drinking drastically lower your budget constraint, forcing you back home on the long run. But girlfriend or wife might have changed the locks and since you are too proud to beg, better sleeping in my car. Just for tonight! plus the second one and some more drinking and procrastinating.

One day you are wasted, park the car in the wrong slot and it is removed.
And there you are on the street already.


Perhaps first thing you get organized: Railway Station, returnables.
You might need a cart.

Also, you ought to invest some time into picking your favorite spots, mainly because there are lions. And there is indeed an intriguing insight connected to this latest point, featuring anthropological as well as probably-even-geopolitical nuances: As a matter of fact / in spite of the remarkable amount of spare time that beggars happen to enjoy / and in spite of life chances and climatic conditions and Schengen / they normally decide upon stationary, non-migratory living patterns.

Defrag: you are a beggar, therefore quite outdoorsy by necessity, but perhaps you are one in the North, the grim & frostbitten one. Or maybe you are one in a big & dirty City, I’m thinking Mumbai. Watch yourself while you choke or freeze under the dirtiest bridge.

You could sneak in on some freight trains or walk for that matters, work on your Wanderlust and find a way to milder shores.

And no.
There are plenty of you beggars fighting against winter diseases, harsh continental conditions, way too much over the equator, and there are plenty of you inhaling red-hot PM10s & 2.5s under some disgusting overpass in the middle of a stinking and noisome city summer.

I’m thinking Rome.


Ourselves as a possible way of example: back in 2005 we had spent seven years in Rome already and if asked back then, we could have told you with exhausting details how the city is nothing like La Grande Bellezza and almost everything like l’Imperatore di Roma.

What we would do back then?, mostly or almost exclusively drink until late, keeping it close enough to our place and making sure that if we are dizzy or disgusted well, at least it is lots of schnaps before Rome itself;

then very soon I grew to like what lies beyond violent drunkenness, when one has passed that stage: a magnificient and terrible peace, the true taste of the passage of time.

Beggar friends in Piazza Sempione, it was the four of us.

We spent time together all around the bar or the pizza shop right beside that, a pool of Eastern criminals, brainwashed youngsters and aficionados from the Rehab clinic right on the other side of the road.

M. was one of us beggars, ex-convicted, plus psychically troubled and not capable of using languages anymore. He had some spots for himself, depending on temperature and shadowing conditions: Arcades in front of the wine shop, stairs behind the bus stop, everything in within a radius of say, 30 mt / 100 feets. He never really moved any further than that. Not after being beaten up several times. Not after that late winter night when he was set on fire by some local vandals while sleeping. Just there, behind the kiosks of the open air market, he eventually died in 2008.

(Godspeed).

The Black Guy belonged with us, too. He had no name and was dirty, fat & confused. Also, he had a passion for swearing against God and Saints while sitting at the rear end of the main bus (90 express) connecting Piazza Sempione with the City Center. He used to get into that in the early morning, shouting at kids and the old ladies, many round trips a day – but he always did come back to Piazza Sempione, and sit close to the traffic lights. There he normally pissed his pants to warm up and crashed on the paddle until dawn.

Or S.! You wouldn’t tell / he didn’t have the looks of a beggar, although his lifestyle was already much ahead of loose. He was the most communicative among us and by far our favorite pal. Both the bottles and us, we always hoped he would show up for company. Once he offered me a job for some change. A job at a disco club in Ostia, which is a polluted sea place (formerly a swamp) close to Rome… Pasolini was killed there.

I already had two University degrees at the time, but I did not want him to think I was peaky, so I accepted. He obviously just disappeared with the money.

Months later we were reported that he had settled at another bar just a block away.
Provided he is still alive, I bet you find him there tonight.


So beggars are stationary, non-migratory. Which is not good for them. One could say: “Their fault.”

This is an interesting Thought btw: In its pristine form, it is a negation of the recurring, consolatory assertion: “It is not your fault.”

You say that to people that try something very hard and ultimately fail.

And there is one additional interesting Thought to that, the following one:
“Whose fault was it then?”

Ceteris paribus, Somebody here can decide to win and give everything to achieve the target – and eventually just fail. Then why is the Failure possible, whose fault is a Failure itself? Because hey, should we ever discover that – even if only once in life! – a certain Failure was “nobody’s fault”, this would lastly mean that nobody can really decide to win after all; that is saying, our and your and everybody’s Will was (is) absolutely irrelevant.

Bateson, same writings mentioned in the opening, he has an intriguing question: “In the epistemologically unsound resolution, “I will fight the bottle”, what is supposedly lined up against what?” Perhaps it all starts with the Challenge in its pure form. But then the specific challenge of sobriety approaches, like as if Sobriety was previously somewhere else just outside there, and now, it has to be achieved. Once sobriety is achieved, the new challenge might be posed by the risk of drinking. Pride says: “I can resist Drinking”, which is therefore out there as well, as a fictitious Enemy. Et cetera. But at the end of the Journey, you still only fight against your own System and in the ultimate match I against I, who is the most likely to lose?

AA repeats: “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic”. So it tries to have the alcoholic to place alcoholism within the self – something that Bateson liked. And for sure the Mind and therefore Presence of the alcoholic, here, are not confined within his tissues or Umwelt: Systems change or switch or morph into new environments, but if “always an alcoholic”, then that is what the alcoholic is no matter the System. Say: That is the Destiny that Somebody is, together with the (whole) “Rest.”

Perhaps we should now write: “Once a beggar, always a beggar”. Maybe even: “Once in Rome, always in Rome”. As in the case of the AA, serenity could be a certain modality of Surrender. But in the case of the Hornschaft, meaning in our own case – and for the record, although lacking money, model roles and inspirations from the immediate surrounding, hey, we did leave Rome at least!

Together with its squalor, vain grandeur,
never ending Misery.

Oh this was one of the best three things ever happened to us.

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