Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dean and I think there is a 40-50yo woman sleeping in the park across the street. We've run into her several times now on our after-dinner walks. She is dressed well enough, and is holding some plastic folders in her arm, as if she is just coming home from work. But then you notice the couple bags of belongings stuffed under the bench, where Dean found her napping one afternoon. We talked to her briefly, and she was very vague, a little anxious, possibly chronically mentally ill. We feel sorry for her, and wonder why she isn't connected to resources downtown, or if perhaps she is fleeing those resources. One of our neighbors has chatted with her, too, and brought her some fried chicken and some toiletries (there is a nice public bathroom with a heated air hand-dryer in the park, where one could wash up and change clothes). We brought her some bread and cheese last night. Dean asked her her name, and suggested to her that it might not be safe to be sleeping in the park at night. But who knows, maybe it is safer than the shelters downtown. We both feel sort of odd about it. Perhaps a little middle class guilt? Perhaps not knowing if helping (food, toiletries) is really just enabling? Dean half-joked that he would think of her as the Buddha, and treat her with kindness. And see what he could learn from her. Who knows, she will probably be gone tomorrow.

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PS: Did you know Obama published some poems as an undergraduate?

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3 comments:

Kelli said...

Dean half-joked that he would think of her as the Buddha, and treat her with kindness. And see what he could learn from her.

***I suspect that with such an unstable economy and the price of gas/food going up, we may see more people like this who don't necessarily fit into what we normally consider "homeless."

I really liked Dean's comment though. It's sweet of you both to help out. Keep us updated. (BTW, I've volunteered with one of those big "resources" downtown and unless she finds a place that serves only women, they can be overwhelming/intimidating and I may too flee from those places.)

Premium T. said...

Oh Dean....bless him.

Collin said...

There's an elderly gentleman missing half a foot that is homeless and roams about my neighborhood. I've given him cash and brought him food. The look on his face is so heartbreaking I can barely speak to him without crying. You and Dean are doing a good thing. Sometimes people just need a kind word and some human interaction that isn't fear and hate.