Saturday, January 12, 2013

Like wounded fish lost in the sea

It seems to me that the homeless people I pass as I walk around Manhattan are like the fish in the rivers, streams and oceans, that we don't think about, but they suffer our indifference, wounded and threatened. It could be said that like the homeless, fish depend on the fickle kindness of strangers.

Yesterday, I passed the same woman a block from Zabar's I'd seen before, the one who looked like a soccer grandma. It was drizzling and she was sitting without any shelter in front of the church grate. Her face was much more pinched & narrow than the last time I'd seen her. I said, as I gave her a dollar, "I'd hoped I wouldn't see you here on a night like tonight." She smiled wanly, as tho to say, "me too." When I passed by about an hour later, she was gone, but another beggar stopped us on the way into the subway. Later, leaving Chelsea, I heard the most beautiful Portuguese singer. I budget myself $5. for beggars & musicians each time I go out. I rarely spend more than $3. I figure it's an investment in Karma.

I rarely refer to having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, tho it cuts a wide swathe thru my life. But recently I encountered a couple situations where the standards were so inflexible for my participation, that I was forced to accept exclusion. It is a frustrating reality that this society doesn't cut people much slack for disability, visible or not, fish or human. I always wonder about the judges: how their tables might be turned if they were to walk just a step or 2 in the shoes of people or species unlike themselves. I suppose it is one reason I can relate to homeless people.

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