Thursday, September 18, 2014

I have a practice where I have some dollars in a cubby in my car and whenever I'm at a corner with a homeless person, I give that person a dollar or two. And then we chat, if there's time. Yesterday I gave a guy a dollar by the on-ramp to I-5. There is often a woman there who has a large selection of signs with sayings like 'Don't worry, be happy!!!' and 'God loves you!'. She's blonde with a thick braid. She looks like an archetypal farmer's wife. But she's sleeping under a blue tarp by the freeway.


The man yesterday reassured me. 'I'm ok, just a minor setback. Don't worry about me. I'm fine!' And as I drove away, I broke down. I've looked in the eyes of so many homeless humans and he got in there. I wept all the way home.

I asked about homelessness in Italy. The economy is pretty bad. The cab driver I asked said that because Italians have such extensive social support, the families are so big, someone down on his/her luck will be taken in. The only people I saw who were street people were Gypsies and they were regularly harassed by the police. In India, begging is a profession and part of the caste system. And the beggars are aggressive and pushy. It was an interesting practice to walk through the streets knowing you'd be assaulted by children and adults who had clearly identified you as a privileged foreigner. Besides, you were paler and taller (and probably healthier with full vaccinations and a full belly).

The children are sleeping again under the overpass on my way to work. They are there in their sleeping bags on the pavement, sharing cigarettes and herb. Our last Teen Feed is next month on Halloween.

This morning the men are grinding and sawing and hammering out back. I don't know where Hugo was but evidence of him through the house is characterized by dirty footprints and fine grit and various plant burrs.

Vacuuming is futile.

The person I'm not dating leaves for the Sudan on Saturday. I bought her a wee external hard drive and loaded it with movies and series so she can watch Sherlock on her computer. I'm worried about her. Nine months is a long time. Especially in a place where there is civil war. I treated her to dinner downtown. Coconut cream pie for dessert. Least I could do.


Ms. Moon said...

It is so shameful that we have so many homeless. Our social structures HAVE broken down. And so many of the safety nets removed.
Bless you, always, dear Coyote.

Sabine said...

A few days ago, I gave a very young Roma woman (gypsies are either Sinti or Roma here) a bag of peaches and a loaf of bread because I know she will not be able to spend money, there is always someone watching her and ready to collect, it's a highly organised business. She tried to eat so fast, she almost had to vomit.
Europe is a nasty place.

Radish King said...

I love you so much Beth for your gigantic generous heart. I watched a video the other day of a man panhandling who was then handing 20 dollar bills to anyone who gave him any amount of money. I was shocked that people were walking by yelling at him telling him to get a job etc. Homelessness is such a huge problem in this city I couldn't imagine being rude to someone in such dire straits. And we can smile and make eye contact even if we don't have anything to give.

Elizabeth said...

Your heart is full to bursting, as they see. You inspire me.