My Heart has become Homeless

 

I watch the homeless man watch the woman

His face half covered, like a vicious mockery of a masquerade mask,

by the greasy stained hood of the once maroon sweatshirt.

The lone eye peaking out, staring at the serrated and mechanical run

of the 40 year old woman, and her dog.

I can read his thoughts:

she eats so much food she has to run, she’s wearing workout clothes because she has workout clothes, she has a dog that she can take care of, that dog eats better than i do.

I hate the woman too, as I ride by on my Giant mountain bike.

without another thought for the homeless man on the bus bench


I’m blessed to be able to ride my bike over lunch for exercise.  Today over lunch I passed a man who appeared to be living on the streets.  This reminded of when I was in grade school and my folks took me into the city for a parade.  While driving through the city streets looking for a place to park, I saw my first homeless person, digging through the garbage, looking for food.  I remember crying, and my parents asking me what was wrong.  After I told them, they kept driving.  Today, after I saw the man I thought living on the streets, I kept riding.

For a portion of my life I’ve felt like I’ve had a heart for the homeless.  So much so that sometimes I would even tell my wife that I was going to help the homeless.  Or told myself that I had dreams of starting a homeless shelter.  I used to feel pangs of guilt and regret when I’d pass a someone on the entrance to the highway, asking for handouts.  I used to.

Somewhere along the way, I started to give up.  I made excuses.  I stopped making eye contact with them on the side of the road, and I generally stopped caring.  I wouldn’t even tell myself that I wanted to help.  I just didn’t.  I don’t know where I went wrong.  I tried all sorts of ways to justify it, or explain it away, or tell myself I’ll care about the homeless when I’m older and don’t have so many family responsibilities.  But the truth is, I lost my way, if I ever had it. Has anyone who is fortunate enough to have a blog or read a blog figured it out?  Is there a way to make caring for the homeless in a tangible way while supporting a family and pretending that writing is more important that helping those who have nothing?  Or have any of you been able to successfully tell yourself that it doesn’t matter?  There’s no social change embedded in this post.  There is only sad self reflection, and guilt.

d. 2. oban


Update – Amazing how this works.  Ran across this article this morning.  ‘The Science of Evil’.  Simon Baron-Cohen calls this empathy erosion, where humans are turned into objects

Advertisements

Fresh, new, a little scarred, but who cares

20160131_061915.jpg

It was never a nice table.  But it was all we could afford, and it was what we wanted.  So for a few years it was our nice table.  And that was good.  Then the ball of energy that has occupied my 6 year old wondered what the texture would be like if she took a ball peen hammer to it’s surface.  I don’t know where she got the ball peen hammer, I mean does anyone really have a ball peen hammer just lying around?  I don’t, but somehow, Ball of Energy found one.  And despite my initial anger, the texture was pretty cool.

And it all went downhill from there.

My wife, Jessi, is an artist.  And god bless her, she’s imparted that love for things that are beautiful, and dark, and entirely unable to be adequately described by my finite vocabulary, to our children.  So projects that were initially performed on the sterile surface of butcher paper and a layer of newspaper that was too good for recycling, began to creep out onto the raw and fragile table.  And as the EnergyBall got more and more passionate, and the AngerBall got more and more frustrated with the flaws in her art, the table took more and more of a whipping boy role, and finally, the role of the ultimate canvas.

Now our table proudly wears these scars.  I imagine it sitting around with other tables, quietly listening to their tales of butter knifes gone awry, and spilled glasses of wine, and then my table pulling up it’s table cloth, a la Quint, the old codger from Jaws.

Our table wears the paint like a biker wears his tattoos.  They define who it is, where it’s been, and dammit it aint putting up with any of you grey poupon, freixenet cordon negro, cloth napkin bull larkey (sorry AngerBall and EnergyBall may read this so I’m keeping it PG-13).  And that is a reflection of our family.  And a reflection of where I am right now.

A lot of what I’m doing is new to me.  The road I’m going down is not clear to me.  I’m a new person with a blank canvas, but because of where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, and the lack of cloth napkins, there’s a little wear on me.  I can’t be fresh and open minded, or even a little innocent.  And like our table, that’s OK.  I’m going to wear those scars, and not be afraid.  If I say something that’s self serving, maybe there’s a reason for it.  And if I do something rude or completely stupid, it could just be because of the ball peen dents on the back of my head.  And if you’re lucky enough to be invited to our house for dinner, don’t look at our table and judge.  There’s a lot of love and brilliance that has been created there.

We have dreams of getting a new dining room table, to go with the cloth napkins that we got for our wedding.  And though it’s not in the budget now, we’ve agreed that when a new table joins the fray, we’re keeping this table.  Not only for a place to do art (and protect the new table from EnergyBall – She’ll still have to eat dinner at the art table) but also as an homage to the passion, creativity, compassion, and love that our family has.

d. 2. oban

Damn Skinny Bop

It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  I’ve been freed from the oppressive regime of culture and counter culture.  I am free to be anti-social media, spreading chaos and happiness with the stroke of a pen.

As I struggle out of the amniotic fluid and fill my lungs with air, I’m reminded that we’re all short for this world.  And so I’m going to do the best I can with what’s left of my time. Deep.

Keep posted, and I’ll keep posting.

d. 2. oban