Thursday, November 24, 2011

Homeless Thanks

Homeless people. They exist. And I suppose they serve as a lens.

And I ignore them everyday on my way to work. A homeless man was walking toward me when he was overcome with some sort of force pulling him back he shook violently and turned the other way. I made it to the corner and he kept looking at me as if he was scared of me. I crossed the street. There is a homeless man who has a simple sign, “kind soul please share what you can.” I can share so much more than the cold shoulder I give him every time I pass by.

There is a homeless man who heckles people kindly; he bows with his cardboard sign and asks for a little change.

There are two homeless men who spend time under the Alaskan Way Viaduct. They seem to be good friends and have chairs and a few articles of clothing. They don't have much more than that. I once made eye contact with one and he smiled and nodded. I hurried past.

There is a homeless air force veteran who stands on first. He seems newly homeless and had gotten much more disheveled even in the time I have been walking to work.

I have had homeless men yell at me because they have some sort of psychotic break.

I have seen kids my age, homeless on the streets. They seem smart and kind enough; they just don't have homes.

I still don't know what to say or do about homeless people. I just don't. So I pass them with stiff body language and the internal hope that it somehow gets better for them without my assistance. All that means is that I have pawned off the responsibility on some nameless other. Is that an acceptable course of action?

So yeah, happy Thanksgiving. I know some of the things I'm thankful for. I have a roof over my head. If I fell there would be a substantial safety net of friends and family to help me. I have the benefit of being a well-adjusted, reasonably sane human being with a steady enough job that I can pay rent. I am thankful that those in my life have helped me so much this year. I am thankful that I can go home to a place. I am thankful that I don't have to find a dry spot to sleep in the Seattle rain. I am thankful that everyone around me has done so much to make sure I succeed.