Long Live Hobos


In Santa Cruz, I had occasion to meet some hobos. Real or fake hobos: it was hard to make the distinction in a town so enshrined to the misfit ideal.

There was a train bridge near the roller-coaster that you could walk across if you were brave enough. (Yeah, it was the same train bridge that Keifer and his vampire crew jumped from in The Lost Boys.)  That bridge was also where the Union Pacific slowed down just enough for your typical Santa Cruz scum-punk-hobo to leap into an open box car and haul off to an unincorporated sugarbeet-scented town up north.

It seems harder and harder these days to live on the margins of society without being downright destitute or immediately imprisoned.

So as a fan of Boxcar Bertha, William T. Vollmann, and the hobo visions of Grace Krilanovich and David Means, I say to you that hobos are not only NOT dead but they still reconvene every year as they have for over a hundred years.

Yes folks: a hobo convention. (Via: Bookforum)

Michael Berger is a barely-published writer and book-seller living in San Francisco. He is one of the founding Corsairs of the Iron Garters Bike Club and is currently pursuing a degree in applied pataphysics. He sometimes eats oatmeal for dinner. More from this author →