Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 221

On my way home I see two people on the sidewalk near the light. They're holding homemade signs. The signs ask for money.

It's two in the afternoon. It's shockingly hot, the sidewalk is blindingly white, one of them has no hat.

I have some cash but today, I need it. I have an old beach unbrella, I could give it.

They have a cart full of items I didn't get a good look at. They each hold large cups with straws.

A few yards behind them is a park area, with shade and soft grass.

I wonder why they both remain in the punishing heat? Why don't they wait for evening, for more people and cooler air? Why don't they take turns, half the sun, share the hat? I'm astounded. I'm beyond that. I'm... non-plussed.

The light changes and I drive on, having donated neither money nor unbrella. Puzzling over why they sat there on sizzling concrete. It's the desert. The air is dry. The sky is clear. The sun is a hammer.

I see snapshots of primitive life, both plant and animal, pulling back from heat. I know I'll ponder this later. These two people on the sidewalk, in the killing light with shade so close.

I see cows standing in the rain. Turkeys drowning. I'm getting a headache.

I'll think about this again, this strange behavior I saw today. But the people are ghosts.


Diandra said...

Bad thought: Sometimes people make themselves appear more miserable in order to get more money donated. They may actually *need* it, but I have seen people artificially reopen wounds and exposing them in public so people would feel pity (and disgust) and give them money to silence their own conscience.

(I donate, if I can, and if I do not feel pressured. People invading my personal space and asking for an exact amount of money don't stand a chance.)

DavidK said...

I'll think about this again, this strange behavior I saw today.

Some people are just broken, in ways that we'll never figure out. We can tell they're broken, but not how. It's like a broken computer - you know it's not working right, and you know what the symptoms are, but have no idea of the underlying cause.

I just feel sorry for them, and wish our society in general was more inclined to help than to scorn.

Anonymous said...

The only unopened doors I encounter, are the ones I've already walked through. And stumbling through the ones up ahead only to emerge even more confused isn't my style.

lisa said...

Hi Diandra: I generally give, thinking that anyone willing to stand with a sign out in this heat must need help. People who approach me at the gas station make me uncomfortable and I avoid them.
DavidK: Right. Sometimes the person is broken. Sometimes it's a person who got ground up in the broken system. On the surface, it's hard to tell the difference.

David: I hear you. I welcome you(and everyone) to message me on fb. Peace to you too.