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Finishing off the Florida Trilogy, as it is winter and Jews are still there. All fine pieces of cinema and literature should be written in trilogy form. Hence, the third article about how I can’t afford vacation.
Vacation is a week of me turning homeless.
I Am Homeless
I show up to the airport and I am a homeless man looking for a place to sleep. A week as a homeless man. That's vacation. Me as a dispossessed person. That's vacation to me. I leave the warmth and enjoyment of my home, and try to find another place to stay, really far from my home.
Homelessness is a realization I came to upon arguing with the hotelier at the forty dollar a night motel resort, when I found out that there were resort fees. Arguing that a chair on pavement patio doesn’t make one a resort, was the realization of homelessness.
Some call it a motel. It's a homeless man looking for shelter.
Homeless in Florida Still Need Shelter
I learned that I can't sleep on the street. As warm as it is, I need a place to stay. Growing up in a Jewish middle class neighborhood, I did not cultivate homeless beach sleeping skills. Truth is, all the good spots on the beach were taken by other New Yorkers who made their way south.
I should’ve done a Mitzvah and started an awareness campaign. My Jewish charity upbringing had me thinking that we need to raise money for vacationers down here. Next time I vacation I’m starting a Tzedakah. If the vacationers have any hope of enjoying Disney World, they’re going to need assistance.
I Found The Place To Stay Online
Even homeless people have internet access nowadays.
I went to Booking.com and found the cheapest place. It was a motel. What's worse is they called it a hotel. The only thing worse than a motel, is a motel they call a hotel. That’s how I ended up at the motel resort.
That first night, I rolled my luggage in and made it clear, 'I just need a decent shower, some hot water and a roof over my head for the night.' I was homeless. Like any homeless man, I just wanted a decent place to sleep and shower for the night. The local migrant homeless already took up the beach. All the good spots for cardboard were taken.
I Can’t Call It A Hotel or A Resort
This motel is where homeless people stay.
I know it is politically correct to allow people to identify how they like. However, offensive as it may be, I had a hard time calling the Silver Spray Motel a hotel. It was gutsy to use the brand of insect repellent in their motel name. I respect them for that. Even so, I couldn’t go along with them self-identifying as a hotel. For that matter, it was hard to call my homeless motel room, with the last guy’s sheets on my bed, a resort.
Self-identifying has its limits. A hotel needs a lobby. At least a cushioned chair to sit on when I’m waiting for my room. Folding chairs don’t bring resort status.
Homelessness is Expensive
It’s expensive to not have money. Ask my bank and the credit card guy about the fees for not having money. And it's more expensive to be homeless than to live in a home. Even when I go camping, I'm paying more than staying at my house.
Camping is another scam we can talk about. You are literally without shelter, and they charge you for that.
Staying At Home Is A Better Vacation
I gave up heat, a nice kitchen, surround sound, a good shower that I know how to adjust. I'm going to travel to my house next time.
My home allows me to stay. The hotel kicks me out at 11am. From 11am to 4pm I was literally without lodging. That's why I have to vacation someplace warm. The only positive in Florida is that I didn't freeze when I was on the streets.
I am going to stop traveling really far for vacation. The problem with vacation is that my house is really far away now. I didn't think about the commute home when I went on vacation. If it's an option to vacation and commute home every night, that shall be my next destination.
I Now Travel with A Backpack
The new travel baggage fees have brought me to this. I now travel with as little as possible. Tooth floss, phone and Tefillin. That’s it. Tefillin and Tallit fill the limit. If I can justify a coat, I'll smuggle a sandwich.
Thanks to Spirit Airlines, I travel with nothing. No clothes. The fees scare me. I show up to Florida, a homeless man who has to go shopping. I pick up new undergarments in every city I visit. It’s cheaper to buy pants there too.
I’m a backpacker. A forty-four-year-old backpacker. I would stay at youth hostels, but I can get arrested for that.
Charging for me to carry stuff on the plane? For me to hold stuff?!
I Have To Eat
Where do I get food? I had food in my fridge. Vacationing at home is better.
I have to go to a restaurant, a mini-mart that charges fifteen bucks for milk, or I have to show up to Shacharit at some shul and hope somebody is sponsoring breakfast. I spent my money on my carry-on during my last trip. It’s going to have to be shul.
When I’m traveling, I’m a dear member of all Jewish communities where I don’t pay dues. Your Simcha is my happiness when I need food.
I Got to Know the Locals
When you don't have money for the sites, you get to know the people. Getting to 'know the culture of the locals,' is the homeless man's way of vacationing.
I Slept On Public Transit
I was on a bus and I fell asleep. It was comfortable. Thank Gd for buses.
At the time, I felt like I was connecting with the locals. Then, I saw the locals driving.
Not even public transportation. Public transit. That's how you know you're homeless. I didn't even care where the bus was going. I didn't ask. It was all an experience. A homeless experience.
Don't tell me to take Uber. I spent that money on my carry on. And most cars don't have the legroom necessary for a decent nap.
I Was Going to Jump Into Waves
That sounded fun to me, and my Israelis brethren and sistren were also doing it, which meant it was financially sound. The shekel does not cover amusement parks.
The sand was too comfortable. I fell asleep.
As I talked about last week, next time, I'm going to relegate myself to Florida visitations. I don't have vacation money. I have visitation money. I can visit. If nobody takes me in, I’m vacationing at home.
I'm going to enjoy my vacation. If I turn up the thermostat a bit, I can be warm in Rochester. Shoot. Now I have to start saving up to pay for the gas. There is no way around it. Yeshiva Week is expensive.
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I was going to do Kaparos before Yom Kippur, but I chickened out.
You get it? Kaparos is the tradition of placing your sins on something else, the day before Yom Kippur, traditionally a chicken, and waiving it. He chickened out of the chicken. He might've done it with money in the end. But that would still be without a chicken.
Designated stroller parking area. Something every shul needs, so I can get through the entrance on Yom Kippur... Truth is they should have stroller parking all the time. The entrance is always blocked.
Problem: Merv and Bernie will end up parking there. They already take the disabled parking spots and walk just fine. When it comes to parking, every member of our congregation is disabled.
Side Note: Figured out why so many kids come to shul on Yom Kippur. Because they get to eat in shul on Yom Kippur.