while i was home last month in dallas, i didn’t see any suffering. i did see opulence, mostly working holiday parties for the 1%. otherwise i saw comfort amongst the 99%. today on my way home from nolita on the D, a man was pleading for donations. he was partially paralyzed on the left side of his body. his left arm was practically useless and his left foot dragged as he made his was down the car. a veteran from the 1st iraq war, he said the power at his home where he lives with his family would be cut off on monday and they need money. it was heartbreaking. assuming he is being truthful, how is it that in this country, veterans who fought in wars are suffering?
i transferred to the E and another man was carrying a small gift bag with handles. he too was asking for money, and his gift bag sounded empty except for a few coins. his story is different. he’s homeless and staying at a shelter. he has to bring his own food. he was actually asking for money or food. he said he’d changed his ways and just needed some help. i felt so guilty sitting there with my bag full of organic beets, ginger, seaweed, and walnuts. i thought for a minute about giving him one of my beets (i have 3), but once i gave a man a package of crackers on a train and he forcefully threw them at the girl sitting next to me. that man couldn’t see very well and clearly wanted money even though he claimed to be hungry. when i say homeless you might have an image of a disheveled vagrant in need of a shower pop into your mind. he didn’t look like that, nor did the veteran, but that doesn’t mean he has a place to live. the number of homeless people living in new york city alone is staggering.
i have no solutions to offer, but watching people suffer is unsettling. i type this as i am just settling in to a new apartment, my 7th since i moved to new york two and a half years ago. it seems totally unnecessary in a country filled with opulence. maybe they should be at 57th and madison? or on park ave? or maybe those people ignore them too. or others already have that market cornered.
when i got to my stop there was a homeless man sleeping at the top of the stairs. i’m glad he had blankets and today was warmer than it was earlier this week.