Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Homeless Update

Things are both better and worse for the homeless man I've been telling you about.

Months back he wandered into a posh community several towns over from the inner city where I live.  He decided it was "home" and proceeded to dig out his own little spot.  Usually babbling on with words no one understands, he doesn't beg exactly, but it's so obvious with his dirty clothes and look of need that he could use a sandwich here and there, which is what a very few people started to do.  It was only when a mother complained to police that "this bum" likes to hang around the grade school kids, talking to children, that he started making even more enemies.  These folks are the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. working-types who give up time with their families just to keep a clean, equity-rich town.  They feel they have as much right to the place they chose to live and work in as this homeless guy, who doesn't seem to do anything they would call "productive."

According to the news, as I reported, when he was arrested the judge could find no cause to keep him jailed, and in fact no evidence of any crime.  The little girl couldn't keep her story straight even though her mother claimed "she's just nervous".  I believe a few lies may've been told.  Yet the law is for everybody, so the judge dismissed the case and released him back into the society.  This angered many, it seems, but others with a different slant attempted conversation, gave him food, tried to befriend and hopefully help him.  Unfortunately, those people are few and far between.  They themselves have even lost friends over this issue. 

The other day his supporters, small as they are, took to their streets with signs and slogans, and the homeless man himself (who seemed very bemused) with shouts of "Be Fair To Failures" (really!) well at least it was something - I know, it sounds so condescending, but these are high-class snooty types who never encounted a homeless person on such an intimate level.  Now that they have, they seem eager to help.  I think a few are trying their best.  I see in the newsclips that they shake his hand, which is dirty, listen to his talking, which sounds very foreign to them, and offer sandwiches - which he eats with thanks.  Truly, I don't believe these rumors about his motives with the children.

I think he just enjoys watching them, they're too young to have developed prejudices yet, they may laugh at his appearance but hold no ill will toward him.  Besides, most of what these kids take in about the man come at the dinner table from their folks - and they listen.  They hear things like, "I don't want some slob like that hanging around our town, we should have more laws" etc.  This homeless guy likes watching kids play their ballgames, yelling out to them to "go for a strike" or "I know you can do it" things like that.  Plus, for those of you thinking "YOU NEVER KNOW!" you're absolutely right.  You don't.  That's why wherever he goes, a policecar isn't far behind.  And wherever he choses as his bed for the night, whether in the bushes in someone's yard (angers citizens more so he's chased away) or just on a street bench, those police are continually watching, waiting, ready.  Yet what has he done...?  It's almost as if they want him to fit their stereotype of a single, dirty, homeless man who enjoys watching children playing. 

His small contingent of supporters all agree he needs psychiatric help.  They feel he must be mentally ill.  Others suggest a shelter but he won't stay - and he's within his rights.  When asked by a TV anchorwoman, he mumbled that "this town needs me" and he's decided to stay.  He doesn't seem to understand the concept of "ownership" of property, and though my sympathies are mixed since I know how hard one must work to gain what these people have, I'm forced to ask:  "Why don't any of them know about the homeless?  Have they been so busy making money all these years that they don't remember the 1980s when it was epidemic?  And who said it still isn't?"  I have to wonder ...

So he's walking a thin line right now - this man with no name (when he gives it, no one understands what he says).  He's sitting on a fence andsomeone who doesn't like him could push him over to the wrong side, that being the enemies he's made by not leaving, and by hanging around children alot.  Then the others, who want to help but don't know how, they could push him to their side where they know nothing about homeless people or their needs.  This is a hot situation and someone is going to break it wide open. 

 

 

 

 

7 comments:

madcobug said...

Poor man, he probably has the mind of a young child so therefore he likes to be around children. You know the old saying "but for the Grace of God, go I". I am sure very few people think that way though, the thought never goes through their mind. Helen

lanurseprn said...

He may just be entertained by the kids. When I drive by my old elementary school and it's recess time, I drive slow. I like to watch the kids.  They're so carefree.  So many activities going on in the playground.  What else is there to watch when you're just wandering through town.
I do agree....you never know. And he needs to be watched carefully. Homeless people are "epidemic" here where I live. I can't imagine a town focusing on only one guy.  I usually see at least two when I'm out and about.  Up in downtown LA it's worse.  And in Hollywood...OMG they're everywhere!  
It is funny how you do get to know them, though. I always see the same two in my town...and they are always pushing their carts with all of their worldly belongings.  But, as I said, there are just too many to focus on one.
Hope it turns out ok for your guy.
Pam

treesrgreen78 said...

This is an entry I have been waiting to read.  It is heartening know some try to help.  It does seem though that most do not understand this man at all.  The mention of the people who feel they have the right to live in an equity rich town makes me laugh.  Do they not know that richness does not come from monetary wealth alone, but from the friends and acquaintanes you meet as you go through life.  I do not live in this Town (thank god), I have never met this man, yet through your writings of him, he has become special to me.  If this snobbish, opinionated, self righteous Town could open their eyes, they might not see as their signs say "help the failure", this man to me is not a failure, if they really look maybe he is there to teach them something, that people come from all walks of life, when we choose to alienate ourselves from someone because they are different or a failure, I believe we fail ourselves.  Again, I wish I was nearby that Town, I would be the first to go there amd embrace that man and offer friendship and help.  Your writings alone, have brought this man into my life and I already feel like he has taught me something very valuable.  As far as breaking something wide open, I would love to talk to that Mayor and tell him he has a town with no heart or compassion or understanding.  God bless this man, he certainly has me in his corner.

mutualaide said...

Well, I can only say from reading what you've written, that this man is correct.  That town needs him.  They just don't know it yet.  But they will.  In large and small ways.

bhbner2him said...

Hum.  He says the town needs him.  You know, he may be right.  ;o)  -  Barbara

princesssaurora said...

So sad really...

be well,
Dawn
http://journals.aol.com/princesssaurora/CarpeDiem/

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