Tuesday, November 18, 2008

imagine if everyone.....

.... lived on the street for a week, or even a month. Imagine how our perspective and disgust toward the homeless would change.

Imagine sitting in a restaurant. Eating and sitting with a friend when suddenly you are aware of a homeless person being shown to a table? After being left at the table by the hostess, you notice that everyone else is looking at this lost soul... dressed in dark, ragged smelly clothes. She smells of a combination of urine, dirt, and street filth.

Suddenly she turns and you see her face: distressed and frowning. Skin so dark it looks like a tan honed over weeks on the french or mexican riveria, but you know it is not a tan.

She opens her mouth in a wordless cry, her mouth twisted in what looks like anger, or anguish. Then she turns around and walks out, taking with her the various bags of clothes, cans or bottles. Her perfume lingers in the air, and instantly my "friend" makes a disgusted face and voices her opinion quite loudly for all to hear: Thank goodness she's gone! She stank!!

I told her that she should be more respectful of the homeless, to which she replied with a phrase I won't repeat here. Then I described how in these changing times, anyone could be in her shoes, in her situation... then I asked: If that were me, would you think and treat me the same?

She bounced that off her ears without a reply, and just sat there. When the waitress came along and apologized for the intrusion, my friend spat out that that person didn't belong here and her appetite was ruined. I did notice my friend had already finished her HUGE salad ~ enough to feed easily four homeless individuals ~ minutes before this woman entered and departed.

What would you do?

If everyone lived on the street for the experience, you would be surprised and shocked how many eyes would be opened. I would love to see this "friend" living on the street, without a private toilet, no sofa to lie sown comfortably at night to watch an nonexistent television to watch. What would she do with all the personal belongings dragging behind her in carts or bags?

What would you do?

I know the "intrusion" of this homeless woman didn't disgust me half as much as the selfish inconsiderate reaction of my "friend".

1 comment:

  1. I always believe in the saying “walk a mile in my shoes”. I have not been homeless but have had enough life experience to know you can never truly judge someone until you have been in their position. Rent is skyrocketing these day and many people are living in less the reasonable conditions due to finances. I have much sympathy for those that genuinely want to break their homeless and jobless cycle. Unfortunately it is a cycle and a hard one to break without a helping hand from others who are more fortunate.
    I would rather give a homeless person some food then money at least I know they are getting some nutrition as there are some homeless people who may prefer to buy alcohol if you gave them cash, but then who can blame them for wanting to drown their sorrows when they are looked upon as scum by mainstream society.

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