...I was walking into Safeway...
The rain was pouring down, the wind, incessant. I was cold, pissed off, and tired. (Again.)
As I began to grab a cart...I see this young homeless guy...he's all unaware I can't hear him...
And...for whatever reason...I didn't just keep walking...or say, "No, sorry--" like I might.
These are people...
and...regardless of what reasons factored into their slip into the homeless pit of dispair...that's where they are.
Long after their 3 seconds in my face...we split up...
I go into the warm store...I get whatthefuckever I want...and I drive my warm car back to my warm house...and bitch on my fucking blog, while wearing my zillion dollar mp3 player...
and they're still at Safeway in the rain...or, maybe at Rite Aid...in the rain. Their night will be great if they can score, eat, or drink, and sleep... without getting their shit stolen, or being fucked with.
Maybe. But it takes a fucking village.
And we're the United Fucking States. WHY are there homeless people in the third richest country of the world? Fucking tell me. Why are drug users clogging our jails and prisons...?
Why are the mentally ill aimlessly wandering down the fucking alleys?
Sometimes I hate this fucking society.
Until we begin to value our citizens despite race, gender, socioeconomic status...physical and/or mental disabilities...our nation, and it's people will remain a "house divided against itself." The rich keep getting richer...and fuck the poor. The downtrodden, the destitute. After all, social policy costs money....and you need to have money to make money. Thus, spending money on the epidemic of homelessness and socialized health care will only deplete our nation's strength...as, money is our strength...and our country was founded on certain inalienable truths and rights.
Oh yeah? Ponder this:
... in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity...
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
I am sick to death of our government and lawmakers. I despise the hedonistic mentality of our nation. And it sickens me to witness the complete disregard we, as a people, have for our weakest members of society. It is an injustice which will continue to weaken our nation. If money isn't something that Congress is willing to part with, what about power? Perhaps some political house cleaning is in order. Apathy prevails. It's an injustice--- which I, for one, will not sit idly.
(And yes. I do drive a fucking bmw.)
I rip out one of my ear pieces...and he's asking for some spare change.
I looked him straight in the eye...and I said, "Why are you out here, dude?"
And he says, "Uh, I dunno."
And I said, "Honestly...what's your drug of choice, man?"
And he looks staight back at me and says, "Crack cocaine."
I began to mention different programs within a five mile radius...soup kitchens...NA meetings...
and he simultaneously (and systematically) shot down each and every idea with an excuse...
(it was like tennis...but different.)
I seem to recall him asking me again if I had any spare change...
(Well, fact is: my change purse is filled with still life. No shit. I have a plastic frog, several small rocks from night hikes, a red sequin, a blue thread of yarn...trinkets from days gone by...momentos from fun times...whatever.)
(And, actually, when I couldn't tip this cool barista at godamned Starbuck's one time, I offered my purple plastic ant...and they we're all thrilled as I dropped it into the tip box.)
I only give away one of my little trinkets when truly pressed by someone.
And just then I had an idea.
I informed Chad I couldn't give him cash...but I did have something I thought he would really like.
I began to dig in my purse to my coin zipper...it was caught on the thread...but I was making some progress. He eagerly asked..."What is it, anyhow?" And I said, "Oh, you'll like it. It's a rock. I think you'll really dig it--"
I finally get the damn thing unzipped, grab the rock and look into his smiling face.
I extend my hand and place the rock into his outstretched palm. I smiled, awaiting his response, shoulders back...breath held.
His smile fades for a second. Then he leans forward, looks me straight into the eyes, and says, "You're a real fuckin funny person, aren't you?"
And, you know, it was just a rock. So, maybe he didn't get the coolness of it...I thought.
It wasn't until I was about a block from home that I began to piece together our entire conversation.
NOTE TO THE WISE:
Never casually utter the phrase, "I have a rock for you," around a self-professed crack fiend.
Theme song for the day: "Kill the poor," by the Dead Kennedy's.