This morning mirrored every other morning. Where, at the tip of my commute at Penn Station, I am accosted by the homeless, helpless, drunks, addicts, hopeless. Those from (and some may think, not of) our society that live to grab air, space, food and kindness where they can. Those with only their lives left to lose.
Each morning as I am confronted with this reality, with their reality, I am forced to actively participate in how I maneuver. Their physical presence as they invade my space is threatening. The stench is invasive. Their aggressive behaviors as they beg are at once heartbreaking and irritating. I am forced to actively participate in how I maneuver.
(My) Survival has long since dictated I master the art of not seeing them. I employ the same ‘blindness” that I do when I walk the streets purposely oblivious to the reactions my tower of hair may cause. So, I admit that at times I am able to step over the bodies (literally and figuratively) and be on my way. There are other times however, when I allow my eyes to see, to connect with one of theirs and steel myself to not look away. To confront and respect their hopelessness. To acknowledge its existence and challenge myself to do something about it. In those spaces instead of buying my one cup of steaming hot DD coffee (medium, light & sweet), I will add to my order multiple cups of hot chocolate and donuts… for them.
Now, whether that means I am a good person or just someone who at times finds ways to assuage their guilt for being better off may only matter in Heaven. If there is a greater “reward” than the grateful and heartfelt, “God bless yous” I invariably receive from them will have to be the subject of some subsequent posts. This one is about them. Let’s address this.
Very much like racism, sexism, ageism, abuse and sexual orientation discrimination, those that exist (I cannot say, live) on the fringes of our society must be addressed. It is an epidemic. In a country such as this, to have its citizens… oftentimes its veterans, tumble through our waste, grateful for our discard is disgraceful! To see them huddled on days like this, trying to garner both strength and warmth from those such as themselves should break all our hearts. To have people like me so afraid, thus annoyed at the sight of them, scornful at the stench that their huddled mass emits should make me ashamed. Carrying on our day, oblivious to them until/unless they dare to bother is, to say the least, terrible.
Donald Trump: “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible”