you pass a man in a suit lugging around a cart full of stuff. he has white sort of shaggy hair. his face is alittle weathered. his clothes don't exactly fit...you can't put your finger on it. but...you see a homeless guy pulling around a cart. i'm right behind you.. i see a man who was a corporate lawyer. some say he was involved with the duponts. some say he practiced in texas. some say both. either way he was a lawyer. he has money in the bank. he receives a retirement check every month. he has a family that checks on him. he also has dementia. he's homeless.
you pass a woman sleeping on the bus stop bench. you see a homeless woman and you might feel alittle sorry for her. i'm still behind you. i see a woman who is a paranoid schizophrenic. when her medication is working she's normal. when it's not she'll curse at you like a sailor. she talks to people we don't see. she has a sister that can't keep track of her. she worrys about her. she's homeless.
on down the street you pass a guy standing on the corner. he turns to you and asks if you could spare any change. he says he want's to buy a coffee. you see a homeless guy panhandling. you reluctantly reach in your pocket and give him whatever change is in there. you do it because of the awkwardness of the situation. yeah...i'm still there. i see a heroin addict that just conned you. he's trying to scrape enough together to buy a bag...maybe a bundle if he gets lucky.
you're almost at work. you look around and see me. i say good morning. you smile and say good morning. you turn back around because you've seen me before....nothing to worry about. you see a guy walking, maybe going to work or to lomas for coffee. i see me. a homeless guy wondering if you knew i was homeless if you would still have smiled and said good morning. maybe.
in the coffee shop there is a man and woman with a baby...maybe two or two and a half in a stroller. any other time i'd see a family. this morning i still see a family. but i see one full of anxiety and frustration. they're homeless. they live in a abandominium. that's slang for an abandoned house occupied by a homeless person. the woman looks tired. the man looks concerned. the baby is asleep. she trusts her mom and dad. i see a child who has no idea where she lives and that her mother and father struggle every day to keep her and feed her. they struggle ...they fear....they survive.
my point is this. what you see isn't always what you get. you see homeless people. i see something behind that homelessness. i see the person...their problems...their fears...their frustrations....their dreams of getting out of the situation. i also see the ones trapped by something beyond their control. the ones that don't even know how close to death they are every nite. they don't know the situation they're in. they don't comprehend the fine line they're walking every day. but also i see the person behind all the stereoptypes and the problems and the stigma. look close....you can see.
when you do...then you'll get what you see.
see you around town