Everyday I sit in my den at my computer, which is in front of my window facing the park across the street. For several months now I have noticed a truck that is always parked along the curbside at the park in front of my window. What is significant about this is that a man lives in this truck. He sits in the driver’s seat all day long and to the best of my knowledge does nothing. At night he climbs into the back, which is covered with a camper shell, and sleeps there until morning. In the morning he pours out a container of yellow liquid that I assume is urine from the night.
For about a week or two he had a companion living with him, who sat and slept in the passenger seat day and night. His companion eventually disappeared.
Some days I feel sad for him. Some days I feel angry. I have mixed emotions around why he is there and the fact that he is there. It seems wrong that someone should have to live like this, but I do not know if he chose this for himself or if he is a victim of our cruel world. Some days I want to walk over there and ask if there is anything I can do to help him, but in the end I know there isn’t anything I can do. I am poor, living on disability and go to food banks for my food, so what do I have to give? What could I possibly do for him?
I know he has it a lot better than many homeless people, because he has a shelter and no one is harassing him to move on, get out, or otherwise be gone. He is at peace in that respect. But to sit day after day in his truck and do nothing must be exceedingly boring and I am sure it must suck. I know there have been many times in my life when I worried I would be in the same kinds of circumstances. But I still sometimes feel angry that he is there. I am not sure why. Angry because he reminds me of how close I am to being there myself? Angry because no one should have to live like that? Angry because there is a strange homeless man living yards away from me? Angry because my middle class upbringing makes me snobbish? Maybe a little bit of all these reasons. I hate to think of myself as snobbish, but when I look deep inside, I know it is there. It is not a feeling I like to have nor admit to, but somehow it is there anyway.
So, is this about me or the homeless man or both of us? Where is the wound? Where is the scab? What can be done about either one? Why must all this exist? I was brought up to accept people for who they are and not to discriminate. My parents, mainly my mother, I think did right by me in these teachings, but society did me wrong. I still got the message along the way that it was okay to discriminate against certain people. Our very language and laws prove that every day.
It surprises me still to see such openly racist, sexist, and discriminating people of all sorts in the 21st Century! When do we get past it all? When do we accept that we are all human? That we are all people? When do we get the idea that various cultures make life interesting and that skin color is only a variation on the same theme? Why does one way have to be the right way and another has to be the wrong way?
What if my homeless man chose this life for himself? True, not very likely, but it certainly is possible. It is simple. There are few worries. No bills to pay. It does come with challenges, sure. But amazingly, some people do choose this way of life. Who says it has to be wrong? IF he chose it, then let’s not assume it is wrong. If he did not choose it, then let’s see what we can do to improve it. Maybe he is mentally ill and cannot manage his bills and lost his home because of that? Who knows? So, maybe he needs someone to help him with these kinds of things? Maybe he lost his job and was not able to find another one? Maybe all he needs is another chance? But, he won’t get one because he has no physical address.
Anyway…enough of my rant. I think I have said enough to make people think.