Monday, March 05, 2007

F*@k'in Liberal Guilt!!!

I giggled. I smirked. I thought of many jokes I had heard before and even created a few new ones. I am human, but so was the object of my laughter. He was homeless and shaggy. His hair, one matted salt and pepper dread mange. His beard made him eligible for a ZZ Top fan club meeting, but I doubt he chose to have it. It, like his head, was colored salt and pepper only with a few other hues mixed in from who knows what.

The only sign of his having a face was this dirty protrusion coming from the center of the mess of hair that could probably count for a nose. Other than that, it just looked much like a dirty used cotton-swab sitting on a pair of shoulders walking in the Miami afternoon sun.

His walk was more of a broken gate than an actual walk. His shorts allowed anyone watching to plainly see that arthritis had long since left him unable to straighten or bend his knees leaving him hobbling along the sidewalk. They almost appeared not to be under his control as he passed by clutching an empty plastic 20-ounce water bottle, which appeared to be his sole possession.

I came out of my office to have a cigarette break because my life is so hard and stressful as this man walked by. I had to stare at first because I was not positive I was looking at a man. He seemed almost like a bear in a dirty windbreaker. He was shaking his head back and forth as he walked towards me; well, not towards me, but towards the direction I was in.

I could hear muffled talking which soon cleared up into a lively debate as he came closer. I looked around to see if I missed anyone else with him, but I didn’t. He was one of those homeless people you hear about who are yelling at someone not there. It was quite a heated debate, although I could not make out anything English in his ramblings.

I giggled. I smirked. I thought of many jokes I had heard before and even created a few new ones. I wondered who his carrier was and how his reception was. Mine is quite horrid there. I wondered about some other homeless guy somewhere having the other half of that conversation.

I thought of many jokes in a fraction of a second, and then got smacked in the head by a ton of guilt. This was a human being I was mocking, possibly someone’s father or husband and certainly someone’s child. What separates him from me? Fate?

I know my life and can tell you it is not choices that lead him there entirely. I am a member of the “Lucky Sperm Club” and that is a fact. I have a good job because I was given a good job. Yes, I earned keeping it, but I still got my foot in the door because I was lucky. In ten years time who knows where I will be? Who am I to laugh at some poor homeless guy simply because he cracked under the strains of life? I doubt I would even last long enough to crack if I were in that situation. I also know I would get any job I had to and maybe that is what separates me from him.

Sorry to write twice about the same thing, but it did not leave my mind after writing the first one. Here I am seven hours later still thinking about it. There is an image burned into my head, but I don’t know if it is of him, or of me refusing to look at him as he passed.

If society acts like someone doesn’t exist for a long enough period of time, can that person forget they exist themselves? If so, did I just add to this man’s delusion by not seeing him?

I’m gonna try and let this go; there is nothing I can do now except try and alter what I do next time. Sorry again.

9 comments:

littlebirdblue said...

I like the way you're turning this experience into a short story, using strong narrative and a great, vivid personality.

I think we often laugh when we are uncomfortable with something. It's a survival mechanism, right? Forgive yourself for that. Understand what it is.

And don't lose your empathy--just don't let it get swallowed by guilt.

Scary Monster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scary Monster said...

Me not sure if the Scary Monster can make sense of this.

People fall.

Sometimes they are knocked down and occasionally they allow themselves to drop into the gaps that are inevitably produced by a society.

History records many instances of outcasts who just happened to be geniuses who could not handle living among other people. We do not live in a utopia and there will always be victims.

Some like to think of this in terms of karmic retribution or growth. Others just call it bad luck. No matter which stance you take you cannot knock yourself for something you truly have no control over.

As littlebirdblue stated, Humans use laughter to prevent from going insane over the incomprehensible. You might feel upset over what you saw and felt, but you will never understand it, because you have not fallen and not gotten back up.

You cannot say that the homeless recieved no breaks in life. And you cannot pick a person up when they are determined to stay down.

Our existance is in someway defined by the way we interact with others, but who is to say who rejected whom.

There are so many people around that we see, yet never truly look at. They don't have to be homeless to be lost.

Kanrei said...

There are so many people around that we see, yet never truly look at. They don't have to be homeless to be lost.

So true and so sad. I think we tend to dwell on whatever starts our thought process. There certainly were chances this man had before he hit this low of a bottom. I think what he made me feel is fear that it could so easily happen to any of us. I know I would do anything to avoid such a fate so maybe he is to blame for where he finds himself today. Still got me thinking.

littlebirdblue said...

His head was racing with a hundred thoughts and he knew he only had time for maybe forty of them if he were lucky and everything worked out perfectly for each one.

Beautiful!

There's some really compelling stuff there, Kanrei. I love some of those details--the diner nametag, the DeadHead lighter and the description of the college pad. You've got some intriguing elements kicking around in there. I think you could polish the final portions, edit it a bit and have a great, submittable story there.

Thanks for sharing!

Kanrei said...

Little,
I have to be honest with you- that story got killed by me. I took in in a direction I did not like. I am sure I can go back, but part of me feels like the characters did what they needed to regardless of my thoughts of what they should do. I hate that Charlie killed two firemen to be with Dana. I wonder if I can change that aspect? I need a co-writer.

Steve G said...

Kanrei,

I really enjoyed reading this post. Much better than reading about Libby. Good stuff.

Kanrei said...

Hi Steve and welcome back! My blog has undergone a minor change since you were last here- less politics. I have not given up on it, but I have noticed the lemmings are not that into politics. Funny how one's blog is never what you thought it would be. I am a person who hated online diaries yet find myself writing one. A blog that was not going to be about me has become about me and people are actually interested more than they were in the politics! I am amazed to be frank and so delighted. The quality of writer I have reading this site has only made me strive to be better and you are one of those writers so I am very happy you are back.

joanie78 said...

Great Blog and SM isn't so very scary but rather bright. Love the writing style and think you can go far with it...