I have a love and dislike relationship with my current city.
I love the opportunities to meet people and to do many different things, but the vibe is interesting. There are so many layers to the people and the life. On the surface, people are for the most part, nice. But they are divided on so many lines and thoughts. You can meet people be cool with them but not fully connect because they are looking to advance their careers or something (which is city life). I never understood it too much because you never know who you meet and where they are in their own journey.
Homelessness upsets me, yet what’s worse is others perceptions of a homeless person.
Once, I was walking towards the main library and I saw in the distance a young homeless guy just watching people walk by. There was a group of men who just came out a restaurant whom saw him and gave him their food (which he never asked for). He said thanks and they continued walking. My first thought was, ‘Ah! That was nice!’ passed through my mind, yet no sooner they passed him and was closer to me, I overheard the same guy tell his friends how the kid was a dirty ass n****r. I was angry and insulted. I was angry at the fact I witnessed this and couldn’t say anything back (they passed by me quickly) and for the fact that it was utter in the first place. I walked up to him the homeless young man, and told him not to eat that food and that I will buy him something else (which he was not going to do anyways and I wouldn’t allow).
We talked. He told me how he went to school has his degree but had hardship after hardship and ended up in this situation. A creative shy person. I know psychologically that being in such hardship does a number to a person, and he was so broken by being in that state (which was magnified because he was a shy person). I told him that I didn’t have much, but when he sees me to say hello and that I will try to look out for him the best that I could (even if it’s only getting some food here and there or just being an ear), but he never took it.
I still think about him time from time, wondering how is he doing and how are things are for him now. If he was able to get onto his feet.
It hurts to know that there are others out there who need a helping hand or a genuine person to be there for them in such tough times. People might try to tell me that I was being played for a fool, believe me, I had those encounters before. I even had a pimp who pretended to be homeless warned me of being too nice to people because they would try to prey on me (not aware that I look younger than my age).
“They will try to take you” he said. I looked him squarely in the eyes and told him “Ha! I dare them to”. We stared at each other for the next 5 minutes. He wished me good luck and farewell, I did the same for him and we never crossed paths since.
But the young man was different, I knew it just by the instant connection we had just talking. He felt so low and I wanted to help, but couldn’t. That upsets me. Just as much as seeing a truly homeless person ask for some change to get something to eat only to be greeted by hostile words of “get a job” by the patron they asked this small request from.
Self-righteousness is the stuff a**holes are made out of. I rather have others say that I am a righteous person than to “act” like one and be far from it.
Empathy, compassion, understanding, the basics of humanity is needed more now than ever.