12/05/2012 06:46 pm ET Updated Feb 04, 2013

Gouges for Freaks (Part 2)

Everyone deserves a home. Maybe you find one... but maybe your home finds you.

I worked with a friend who grew up here and traveled a lot before settling back here. In contrast, his brother left and never came back, not even to visit much. Instead he tooled around for a while in various places, ultimately settling in Athens, GA; but for a brief stint he lived in New York City. I love New York. I think everyone should try living there for at least awhile. It has more of practically everything. More filth, art, wealth, poverty, people -- everything all condensed into very close quarters. But New York Ccity wasn't ultimately for Dan. Perhaps it was that Athens, Georgia found him. But while he was in New York, Dan got a job with a moving company and one of the clients at one time was Meatloaf.

So they all showed up early one morning and were greeted by Mr. Loaf, who thanked them and offered that they were welcome to anything in the fridge and freezer, and then left. They packed up and toward the end decided to check out the contents of the fridge -- which was empty, save for in the freezer, which contained four or five quarts of ice cream with large hand gouges from the center.

And this paints a picture in my head of a man alone in the world, late at night, eating ice cream by the light of a TV or computer, with no spoon.

Meatloaf was moving out of New York City.

If I had a label that said Displaced Person I think he'd get one. SLAP! Right on the chest.

And here in Binghamton, we have some displaced people of our own. They typically are referred to one way or another as freaks -- and when Giuliani was mayor of New York City he wanted them all gone -- but each of them needs a home too, and some come to Binghamton.

And some float until they hear the call of their home.

Binghamton is poor. I do not think this town will rebound to what it once was -- 50 years ago when industry boomed and our town flourished. But I also don't think it will die. It's a haven for displaced persons.

Meatloaf should move here, maybe that esoteric something would make sense and he'd one day realize he'd found home. And then he might shop at Price Chopper and say hello to Tony. (see Gouges, part 1)

And he would put his empty ice cream containers out in the recycling and I'd come pulling up in a truck and throw them in. Maybe he'd occasionally be home and see me see him. I'd wave. He'd wave.

And he would drive through town and see people pushing the shopping carts to their places.

And it's not that we're a town of misfits, but rather that everyone knows the misfits in the town -- just like traveling people with wanderlust can recognize the same in others across a plaza teeming with people. Spotting others of a like nature. There's something familiar we recognize.

Maybe it's part of what I see in the misfits in town: I feel my own life-scars and want protection and safety and when I see someone whose scars make sense to me, my heart goes out to them a bit and I want them to be safe.

Tony, Samuel, Meatloaf, me -- don't we all just want to belong... somewhere?