Thursday, April 11, 2013
Norman* came in to the office and our conversation flowed from one topic to the next. I wish I could remember the words as much as I remember the feelings. We talked about the area in which the homeless reside, the stores they frequent, their growing number, how many of them were given one-way tickets out of town during the Olympics, and how he feels the homeless are currently being displaced.
There were moments I felt he was exaggerating. There was a bit too much scandal and cloak and dagger for me to swallow everything, but some of his words were matching up with other conversations. Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses.
He shared a theory that the homeless are being taken away to camps across the state. He was comparing this to how the Nazis dealt with "undesirables". I asked him if he'd seen any of these places, and he said he hadn't--but that he couldn't deny that everyday a friend will disappear and he doesn't know where they end up.
My eyes filled with water.
I don't believe there are camps, but I do believe people are disappearing. Every day.
One man pan handles for $4 a day. $1 for a coffee. $3 for a spice joint that will put him in a near catatonic state for the rest of the day.
That's his life. $4 a day.
As I was leaving tonight, Sam* came into gather his things for the evening. He is a funny looking man. He reminds me of a cartoon walrus. He has the sweetest smile though. His wife is in a wheelchair and she carries a little puppy. I watched him walk away with his backpack filled with things he would need for the night at the shelter, or wherever he and his wife would sleep tonight.
As he walked away, I wondered if he would disappear too.
I imagined him with his wife, holding her hand, walking through the streets together.
I cried, wondering if they would disappear too.
As I get to know these friends, I wonder how long I will have to know them. They will disappear eventually. And like all of us, their memory will pass away too.
For them, there are no funerals. No rituals to help the grieving accept the loss.
They simply disappear.
After weeping myself silly, I went to rehearsal. I was not in the mood to sing or dance. But as I watched my fellow castmates sing silly songs about the dangers of smoking the reefer, I began to just giggle. I could feel this wave of joy come over me. This musical is ridiculous in all the right ways.
Life may be short and it may be incredibly unfair, but dangitall, it is really good.
After rehearsal, I drove around downtown, looking for beautiful night images in this city that I've chosen to call home.
Tonight I am grateful for the lights, the smell of the budding trees, the hilarious show I'm in, and the amazing people I get to meet everyday.