It replaces the Single Room Occupancy that used to be the symbol of the last stop for the alcoholic, lost, and crazy. It's the single occupancy apartment or even moderate-size house. In it bunk the new brand of lonely.
They are past youth. Youth, after all, is still the time for hope. Most have already been emotionally sidelined by trauma, reversal, disappointment, and loss. Some still work. Many are on disability or semi-retired.
They have a dog, which they walk compulsively. Maybe that's desperate search to bond with other human beings. But it rarely works.
They have Direct TV or some other non-cable access to programming. The sound of that drones on from morning until bedtime.
Often they make a run to the package store. Although the supermarket booze is lower cost, the ritual of going to the package store is satisfying. It's a sort of church for the lonely.
This weekend one of the new lonely moved into our complex of 100 units. Unlike most of the lonely she has already given up on connecting. No long walks for Fido. No eye contact. Only the 24-pack of brandname beer as soon as the moving truck closed its back door and moved on. She is too young to be retired. So she might be on disability. Or between survival jobs.
What institution or activist will reach out and say "hello in there" to this growing number of human beings?