Yesterday was a hectic day around the Combat! blog offices, as we moved into an exciting AirBnB on East 6th Street normally occupied by a young woman who loves the Misfits and hates to dust. Did you sleep last night beneath an enormous Die, Die My Darling wall hanging? Because I sure did. Before that, though, I ate Japanese curry with Tommy and Laura. On my way home, I found a bug.
I moved into my once and future apartment yesterday, so I am no longer homeless. But the overall vagrancy rate in Missoula remains steady and maybe even climbs, despite such expedients as banning new soup kitchens and making it illegal to sit near businesses downtown. Last week in The Missoulian, the downtown association and various councilpeople complained that our new panhandling ordinance isn’t working. Instead of getting jobs or disappearing to Los Angeles, the bums are doing the same bum stuff, just in compliance with the new law. Even after we made it harder to be homeless, they stuck with it—almost as if they didn’t have a choice.
It is fashionable in Missoula at this moment to blame every petty nuisance on the Rainbow Gathering. That annual conflation of freedom and self-indulgence met near Dillon, Montana earlier this summer, and much of the overflow has lived in Missoula ever since. Specifically, they live in Caras Park and outside the grocery store. The sight of a dozen twentysomethings lying in the park drinking beer every day should not bother me, just as being asked for money whenever I buy milk is not really an inconvenience. All I need to do is ignore it. Yet somehow, I am bugged.