Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Homeless groceries

"Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone." (Octavio Paz)
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Yesterday, I went to rummage through the fridge, searching for something to nibble on to satisfy the gnawing hunger in my neglected belly. I really should eat more often, but I get distracted. Right. So today, I was on my way home from the beautician, coming up to the intersection where my regular grocery is. The grocer is the center anchor in a small shopping strip, with a barber and post office to the left, and a military recruiter and liquor store on the right (funny that they'd put those two next to one another). I slide my car in and head inside.
There was a homeless man stumbling around on the sidewalk in front of the liquor store. It's cold out, 30 degrees, and he couldn't seem to decide whether it was more important to hold his bottle, or keep his fingers safe in the warm confines of his coat. He starts waving his arms around and screaming at another homeless person (female, I think, but it was hard to tell) picking up something off the ground in the doorway of the grocery.
"Hey! I been lookin' for you!"
"Why? Why you been lookin' for me?" she screamed back, rolling her lips open in a sort of snarl, showing her toothless gums. They walked towards each other, exchanged a few muffled words, and the next thing I know, they were swinging at each other. The sky was grey and heavy with impending snow. The temperature was only going to drop from there on out. I don't know if those two actually had something to argue about, or if they were just trying to get in out of the cold.

I thought about them while I meandered through the grocery. Maybe it's the solitude. Maybe, since they don't have any one else to interact with, since there isn't any one who ever says much to them, aside from, "Get a job, ya bum!" maybe they lost the ability to connect, to discuss, to communicate. Maybe they fell together, because there wasn't any one else to fall into. Maybe...

6 comments:

realmacdaddy said...

Makes you think.......

rmd

Anonymous said...

OK, if you don't update your blog for 2 weeks, dont pop up on chat, don't email, and aren't on IM, it's the same as leaving and not letting anyone know your not passed out in front of the computer....

rmd

Anonymous said...

"OK, if you don't update your blog for 2 weeks, dont pop up on chat, don't email, and aren't on IM, it's the same as leaving and not letting anyone know your not passed out in front of the computer...."

Eh, I don't think that's true.

It's absolutely true that when you care about someone, you worry. It just goes with the terrirory. But there's a difference between 'she has an allergy/she didn't know what was in that drink/she was complaining of discomfort/she's gone, wtf?!' and just being worried that someone hasn't been in contact for a while.

At some point, you have to trust that the other person knows how to take care of herself - that she's competent enough not just to live her own life, but to thrive in it. And you have to trust that, if she's really in trouble, she'll find a way to let you know and ask for help.

That's the difference between loving someone as if she's a grown-up and loving someone as if she's a child.

--
Pauper

Mouth said...

" Anonymous said...

OK, if you don't update your blog for 2 weeks, dont pop up on chat, don't email, and aren't on IM, it's the same as leaving and not letting anyone know your not passed out in front of the computer....

rmd

January 20, 2006 9:56 AM "
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I TOLD you I was going to Palm Beach for a few days... I can't help it that you're old and forgetful!

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