Working in New York City, I realize and accept the fact that I have to co-exist with the homeless. And I feel I have, for the most part, good manners when dealing with them I never stare or give looks of disgust and take special care when in maneuvering around them. I don't want to wake up the cranky homeless when they are sprawled out across the sidewalk.
There is only one or two kinds of homeless people I feel sorry for and if I had spare change, I would absolutely drop it off into their worn paper cups.
Those who served in any war, fought long and hard for this country, came home a hero and poof! They had nothing. No help from the government, being gone for so long caused them to have no way to stand on their feet, couldn't get jobs, were so emotionally battered by war horrors, and eventually the only option was to live on the street. The sub-category in this exception are the crippled war heroes, who not only sacrificed their time and youth, but actual limbs. I don't know what I'd do if I fought for a country I loved and sacrificed an arm and leg for, to come home and realize that it turned it's back on me. So I understand. I'd probably sit in the corner heckling and kicking (see blog "Edgy Bobs & The Kicking Homeless") pedestrians too.
All the others I almost feel resentment for. This morning, for example, I was carrying a HUGE black bag of clothes, a plastic bag full of food my mom bought for me, and my every-day work bag. With three bags in tow, I jet it down the street in order to get to work on time. I was in Middletown for the weekend and when I attempted to train it back last night, there was some sort of delay, so I said SCREW THIS. I called my dad and asked him to pick me up. So needless to say, it was a joy trekking to work today, in a dress, in the weird fogginess, turned humidity, late, with an additional 30 pounds to lug.
While taking a breather and waiting for the light to turn green, I noticed a homeless man, sitting in a lawn chair reading AM New York. Behind his push cart full of miscellaneous this and that's, was a pile of KITTENS. In front of the kittens, there was a sign written on cardboard that read, "please help us, god bless".
At this point I got very angry. Why should I give you my hard earned quarters when you just sit on the corner, day after day. I work not five, but six days a week to pay my bills and to fund a little social life. Why should I support this lifestyle? I hate working. I really really hate it. But I think it's even worse being a societal burden. Put your time in. There are always places hiring. Go get a job. I'd have no problem giving money to people who are actively trying to get back on their feet. But come on, with no goals to better life, why should I just sustain you? (Wow I sound extremely cold hearted. There is no trace of the loving yogi and peace lover I tend to be....perhaps my adult life has already hardened me).
And then the kittens. I want a cat. I would kill for a kitten, but I know that I am not in a financial situation where I could necessarily support another living creature. But here's the homeless man with his 5 kittens. So not only do I have to support him, but also his entire litter.
Could it be that I envy him more than I actually dislike him? Could be... I wouldn't mind a life sitting around in lawn chairs all day with a couple kittens. The only thing stopping me is the winter in the city and the lack of home. But I could always move somewhere warm...or. or....
If I was homeless, I think I'd become a mole person. You know those people who live deep down under the subways and have their own society and live by their own rules? I'd do that or be a super crazy homeless lady and scare the workers and tourists. I'd pretend I was unconscious on benches or sprawled out across the sidewalk, and when a poor Danish family is forced to step over me, that would be my cue to get up abruptly and start yelling gibber jabber.
They always look so down and sad, but I wonder if maybe its all an act and they are the ones laughing it up at the end of the day, while counting out their pan-handling money. While high fiving and giggling away they say, "haha and all the while they think we are sad??? We don't work and get to drink in public and never shower and play around all day, what could we complain about?? Did you see that miserable blond girl with all those bags this morning? Could you imagine if WE had to go sit in a silent office all days writing blogs? Man I'd rather be homeless!"