Friday, December 16, 2011

The Homeless Chic

The thing is, I'm sitting next to this homeless chic.  Well she's not exactly a chic, she's an elderly black woman and I should have more respect for her.
We are both sitting on a couch like seating at Starbucks in Royal Oak, Michigan.  We have both been sitting here for four hours without getting up.  I was studying for various exams and writing various papers.  She was eating a cookie I would have eaten.  She took a nap that I wanted to take.
What's the real difference between me and her?

I'm a bitch, that's the real difference.

I'm so bitchy that I thought some of my stuff was touching some of her bags, she has collected a couple shopping bags, when I thought my bag was touching her bag, WHOA, I moved my stuff closer to me.
I realized she's is an untouchable.  I thought untouchables were only in India.  See we think they have cooties or something.

I'm the one though, I'm the dirty one.  She's probably real clean, she probably doesnt judge other people the way I do. 

There was a time that homeless people were invisible to me, I really didn't see them.  Then I spent some time in a New York City hospital psychiatric ward being hospitalized for Bipolar Disorder.  I literally remember eating dinner with a human being that I later saw, when I left the hospital, eating of a dumpster on the street. 

I broke bread with these people.  What's the difference between me and some of these people? I am a few unmedicated days away from being on the streets, being confused and maybe even being homeless.  Why?  Because most homeless people are sufferring from what we as a society would call a mental disease of some sort. 

Or maybe they are free? 

Could it be that they just could not take life anymore, they could not handle other people?  Maybe they choose this life over our empty domesticated lives where we go on the treadmill of life without thinking about a single thing we are doing, and just doing and doing.

Maybe they are just thinking and thinking or maybe not thinking and not thinking and not thinking.

Sometimes I don't want to think and sometimes I want to get away, away from even myself. 

I'm no different from people on the streets, maybe you are.  But I know my place in society, I'm an overeducated, underpaid, hop skip and a jump away from being on the streets.  I'm just lucky I have a family and true friends that have been there for me when I was down and out.  I ran away from them a few times and almost ended up on the streets.

It's not something I'm proud of.  But I'll tell you why I did it: because I wanted to be free.  Free of all the shit that life entails.  All the boredum and monotony and hard work and bitchy people.  I'm not defending myself, I'm explaining myself.  I needed to run, cause life got too hard for me.  They say it's my chemistry.  Maybe.  Or maybe life whacked out my head and I needed a fucking break.  Maybe life changed my chemistry. 

They say I have a chemical imbalance.  I'll tell you what, the world has a chemical imbalance.  Maybe I don't fit in because I'm the one whose chemically balanced.  Again, I'm not trying to romanticize my mental illness, but what I'm saying is who are we to judge?  These people that roam the streets, some of them could be so zen they are like prophets, but we don't even have the mental capacity to hear what they are saying.  I can't even sit next to one of them in a Stabucks for godsakes.     

Also, I know they look all sick and twisted, but did you ever for a moment think that a homeless person might enjoy walking the streets as opposed to being locked up in one of our "jails" we call houses or buildings.  Maybe they want to keep it real.

I'm not trying to glorify homelessness.  It's a disgusting problem and we as a society should sit down and talk to homeless people.  Ask them what their dreams are.  Ask them if they want to change thier situation, if we can help.

But I couldn't do it, I couldn't talk to her.  Not that day, maybe one day, I will be able to have a conversation with someone who looks kinda scary to me.  Not someone who looks like a serial killer, I try to stay away from those types of homeless people, (like I know the difference) but really someone who is not in my upper middle class lifestyle. 

I should ask them how thier day is going.  Because I know I'm counting them, these days that are good.


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