Here I am sitting at this cheap plastic ash ridden table in front of my local chain supermarket. I am writing in one of my famous spiral notebooks and drinking a grande black coffee while people watching. This is, believe it or not, the perfect place for such an endeavor.
This is not my usual hangout, nor is it likely I will return. I’m growing fond of going to such strange but typical places to write. At these places I can soak up the atmosphere and get a taste of a new perspective I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
All sorts of people have been passing through the double doors to my right; a cross-section of humankind. We are all different but we have much in common, like our need for food, and food shopping and how this damn economy is screwing us.
..and as a certain Mr. Dylan said…”..the times they are a-changin’…”
They see it, I see it. It’s all around. It’s the sign of the times and the signs are showing…more trash in the streets and buildings and streets in disrepair, the forlorn empty businesses, the foreclosed homes…..the homeless. The face of homelessness is changing in our country.
Before this economic doom and gloom, the homeless were usually people with severe emotional problems such as mental illness or drug and alcohol abuse. Now there are families under the proverbial bridge, children, elderly. People like you and I. It seems wave after wave of hardships hit the beach. All you can do is hang on and hope for the best.
I see the signs of high unemployment in the streets, in the parks, the railway station. Everywhere. Groups of young men in their twenties roaming around with backpacks and bedrolls. They are short on opportunity and short on money, everything but time.
I see people with suitcases, your average American, huddled in corners with looks of bewilderment. Some fall asleep sitting up at bus stops, all their belongings held tight against them, sheltering them from the chill night air.
This is the new face of homelessness.
I see them, all these poor people trying to blend in, trying to not look homeless. And what about the people two steps away from it?
I could easily be one of them and it scares the hell out of me.
I intended this post to be a rant type post because when I started writing it, I was mad as hell. Angry with our government, with corporate greed and just plain old-fashioned human stupidity. I still am just as angry, but now upon reflection, I find that I am more afraid than anything else.
Afraid of what the future may bring, afraid of the dark unknown. I think many people are afraid of the same things and this economy and the state of this crazy world have people white-knuckled terrified.
We were all brought up on tales of “The Great Depression.” Pictures of Dust-bowl Oakies with dirty faces and vacant stares haunt the pages of old schoolbooks in my memory. We were taught to fear depressions, recessions and bank collapses…..
….It’s the sign of the times and here we are again and how it can ever get back to “normal” is beyond me.
..so for now I’ll sit awhile and enjoy my coffee. Then appreciate the hell out of everything I can and hold on for dear life.