Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My other self.


One of my favorite walks on campus.

As I was walking to the library to pick up a book that was being held for me, I noticed a man all dressed up in a ratty, dirty old suit jacket, stringy hair, a face that obviously hadn't seen a razor or a washcloth in a very long time. He stood out to me among all of the well-dressed college aged students waiting for the bus.  He stood out to me because he was trying with great difficulty to bend over and pick up a half smoked cigarette that was half-buried in dirt on the sidewalk. I complain a lot.  About the heat, about the cold, about the rudeness of humankind, about my lack of money……and I think to myself, at least that’s not me.  Seriously, that could have been me – a dejected wreck of a human standing along side the road picking up other people’s trash.  It could still be me.  Some days I feel as if I am one bad decision away from being a homeless throwaway person.  But I walked away from that man. What could I give him? I live from paycheck to paycheck.  But at least I have a paycheck and at least I can pay my bills even though I regularly rob Peter to pay Paul.  Me, in my cute little gray dress, with my cute little purse, my library card, on my way to the bank and then back to my job – my really good job.  The one that requires a master’s degree and people skills and the ability to problem-solve, communicate and all of the other stuff I tell students. And where is that stinky old man going?

So tonight I’ll hop in my car and drive home to my house, I’ll be ignored by my family and loved by my dogs.  But I’ll be at home.  I wonder where that man will be.

A beautiful day on campus.

1 comment:

Snowbrush said...

Homelessness is a big problem here in Eugene, and since I live near downtown but with a lot of open nearby, people camp here regularly. I have no sympathy for them, because all the represent in my life is the trash they leave behind, and the difficulty I have getting them moved when they camp in cars in front of my house. It can literally take two months of phone calls to get one camper moved, and I’ve been doing it for 25 years. The tent campers, the city will do something about, the cars campers isn’t an issue for them. Others camp under the bridge across from my house, and since I don’t see them, I don’t bother with them.

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