Page 9 - Scene 4309
P. 9

The Way I’ve Scene ItBY DENISE POYERI rode in the back seat of a friend’s car on a very rainy day, and while she and an- other gal chatted in the front, I noticed a drenched manwho appeared to be lugging around all of his worldly possessions. I muttered, “Oh honey, may God bless you with shelter.” Unaware that the comment had permeated the conversation, I was sur- prised by the reply from the front seat. “Oh, are you a sucker for the homeless? I don’t even look at them.” “What?” I asked incredulously, and then con- tinued, “A sucker? That is a human being. He has nowhere to be. I don’t know what got him to nowhere, but I do believe that we are all just a few bad decisions on our part or someone else’s from that very predicament.” It was a snapshot of the human condition.On any given day, a morning run takes Kurt and I through various parts of the city. The most notable differ- ence from one route to the other is the people. We greet every single one. We say good morning, we smile, we joke on our way past about how slow we are. At the very least, we nod with respect. Most of the people we see that early in the day are simply wandering. Maybe they are so used to being invisible, they are taken aback when we show them that they are not. Nearly every one of them returns the gestures in kind. Their response is so different from the solemn, blank stare of the people headed for work who refuse to acknowledge us. It is a stark contrast from the guy sitting propped up against a vacant building who we wave to, or the one standing at the intersection of a walk with all of his stuff in a grocery cart who of- fers his generous not-so-toothy-smile and good morning. Our eyes don’t avoid them. We are not worried that they will ask us for something. Shoot, at that point in our day, we are both pocket-less and penniless, so compas- sion is all we have to give anyway. WeI See Youlook past the cloak of invisibility that is finely crafted of sad circumstanc- es, poor choices, and the mark of too many hours on the streets. It is heavily woven with the stale smell of that last drink – be it booze or coffee and cig- arettes, which may or may not be har- vested butts. It is the tatters of too many days without clean clothes, a hot bath, a toothbrush, and a real night’s sleep in a safe, comfortable bed. Under that cloak is a person whose life is thus far waaaaay more difficult than mine. I am not afraid or put off; I am humbled.In the blink of an eye, my world could change dramatically. What would I miss most about the life I have now if it was all suddenly gone? Would I miss my stuff? My house? My beloved records? Probably, but without real- ly knowing for sure, I think I would likely miss my false sense of security, but most of all, I would miss the crazyCUSTOM PICTURE FRAMINGdogs, who are family to me, and I would miss the treasured relationships I have with people. I might be sad that the real me would be covered up by what peo- ple saw when they avoided my eyes. So, instead of contributing threads to some- one’s cloak of invisibility, say hello. Smile. Leave the spare change you see on the ground behind for someone who needs it more than you do. Support pro- grams that help folks get back on their feet. Support organizations who feed people. Donate the mountains of stuff you don’t use anymore to places that will put it into the hands of people who are trying their darndest to start over. Use your head, but don’t forget to use your heart too. I care about all people. But at the end of the day, I feel com- passion for the man with all of his stuff stuck out in the rain with no particular place to be, and I feel pity for the heart- less fools in the front seat.BY APPOINTMENT... 269-781-2564HEALTH ISSUE I SCENE 4309 9

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