Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The streets of New York

Last night after work (which went just fine, by the way), Ed, two friends and I went and explored. We walked around Times Square for a bit, went to dinner, and were leaving a store on our way back to the hotel when we were approached my a middle-aged, well-dressed African American woman. She chatted with us for awhile, asked where we were from, what we were doing in town, the usual.

Then she told us she was homeless. She said she was going through a divorce and had been homeless for three months. After a few more moments of talk, she asked if we’d buy her a piece of pizza. The fact that she asked if we wanted to go with her to buy the pizza made us believe she actually was GOING to buy pizza with the money. We needed to continue with our walk, so Ed gave her $5 and she went on her way.

I was a little shaken up by the situation, but not for the reason you might think. I thought it was slightly “odd” that a native New Yorker was being so friendly (old stereotypes die hard), but I NEVER would have suspected she was homeless.

She didn’t appear to be drunk, on drugs, or suffering from any of the other ailments people often associate with the homeless. As I said earlier, she was dressed like most of the others walking the streets on this cold night.

But homeless she is.

I truly believe that she is someone who has just fallen into some bad luck. I don’t know that she’ll still be homeless in a year.

But it IS possible, through a similar stroke of back luck, that any of those reading this blog might be homeless in a year. You just never know.

So the evening didn’t end quite the way I thought it might, but maybe that’s what New York had to teach me this year.

2 comments:

LceeL said...

There are so many that live on that knife edge - one paycheck away from being homeless. Or close to it. Not that I'm a communist or socialist or any of that whack political stuff, but one of the problems that I have with Capitalism is what's happening right now: the perceived health of the economy is in the hands of "investors" and "speculators" whose only concern is protecting THEIR profit.

Queen Mommy said...

And I know that it could be me and my family. I pray every night that it will never come to pass.