Saturday, January 31, 2009

Manbags and Berets

It follows suit that one week after the new moon, all the crazies come out.  I was at the grocery store buying some ingredients for a delicious chicken with tarragon, ginger, coriander, red chilies, stock, onions, cilantro, ghee, coconut milk and garlic, and I caught myself appreciating the organization of it all.  All doing our part to get our food and personal effects - then I noticed the crazy guy.  Tucked away in the corner of the deli section, picking out samosas - he just budges the line.  He went around the line up formed and found a clerk and got the desired samosas, ahead of like, 3 waiting customers... what an asshole that guy is - wearing his green beret all proudly of sorts.   I didn't see him again in the grocery store, but this guy decided he was going to cut the rules that 'normal' folk abide to, just to get his way...  asshole.  Then again, I've got to admit, I admired his contempt for the rules, his finding of a solution to his impatience of waiting in a line, and his acting on it.   Maybe he was just a good actor?

Anyways, a few days back, I was approached by a local 'beggar', or a street-person.  Where I reside, the people living in the streets in the depth of winters still work.   They peruse the back alleys to pick, prod and recycle any valuable material.  Old phone?  New bottle?  Sweaters?  Crazy huh? 

Spare Change
Some decide to pray on more aggressive tactics.  Some approach without reserve, complete strangers requesting the infamous: "Spare Change".  

"The homeless first started arriving in Evergreen about 3 months ago. At first they were only a few of them, asking for change, sleeping in the parks. But then more showed up. And we realized there was something different about them. They fed off of our change to the point that they could actually start renting apartments. We knew it wouldn't be long before the homeless actually started buying homes. And then we'd had no idea who is homeless and who wasn't. People living in the house right next door to you could be homeless and you wouldn't even know. Nobody could trust anybody. Fights broke out, war! That's when I starting suspecting my own wife, who I'd be living with for 20 years, was actually homeless. So I had to burn her, in her bed, while she slept. After she died, I vowed I wouldn't let the homeless destroy our town. So we came up with a plan to get rid of them once and for all. " - South Park (Night of the Living Homeless), 2007

So, the above quote came from an episode of a sick and twisted cartoon parody show, which warp young minds to points of immaturity, or craziness.  It's creators are two crazy entrepreneurs that came up with a paper cutout animation design and decided to parody society, pop culture, religion and politics with unique satire.  Sometimes brilliant, sometimes moronic, sometime insane.  Or is insanity imaginative?  It was Einstein who said insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.    But then again, we do know Einstein was imaginative, or maybe he was just insane and trying to protect himself... hmm...

So this guy was wearing this green beret, and I thought to myself - who the hell would wear a green beret?  Isn't that a bold statement?  Like a man carrying a man-purse, or a wearing flip-flops with socks... I don't really understand.  Flip-flop sandles let me show off my feet - and let me tell you, sometimes I like to gaze at my feet.  But to put socks on 'em?  Not putting on shoes with socks tells me your a little lazy and didn't want to tie your shoes... Lazy-assed crazy!  Then the man-purse...  I suppose, besides the obvious weird attention I would probably get on the street, is that I don't like to carry alot on my person.  I never understood carrying shit in my pockets.  Keys, gum, credit cards, money, ID, spare change.  I hate carrying it all in my pockets.  I do understand that a man-purse would solve all of those problems, plus Jack Bauer carried a man-purse in exciting Season 5 of the hit TV show 24.  But I've been accustomed to carrying my backpack - almost all places I go.  Sure it may not look the professional-type like the acclaimed attache case, but my backpack can carry everything I want.  What I don't want often and don't keep in my backpack is spare, or loose change.  In a generation that typically pays between $10 - $100 an outing, I do go out and spend this amount.  By the end of the day, with all of my shopping with cash, I have a pocket of loose change that I contemplate what to do with.  Do I give it to the beggar?  He may be on the street because of addictive paths...  Do I keep it?  It just collects dust in my change bottle - although I do end up saving a good $200 - 300 per year that way.  

Recipe for Disaster
My loose change is often unwanted.  I do find a few worthy homeless that I donate this loose change to.  I once took some leftover Crab Bisque to a homeless man in downtown Chicago.  They seem in need.  

I'd like to one day run an experiment - a social experiment in a sense.  Perhaps a little to do with psychiatry, but mostly to see what consequence an action brings.  I'd like to approach my neighborhood corner store or grocery store, and discuss the possibility of leaving a small glass jar for loose change that would be put in place to start a homeless fund.  By the evening has set, the change will be collected, and be entrusted that it is going to a legitimate purposeful cause.  

This purposeful cause, explained, is the collection of materials and lumber, the construction of a facility, small in size at first, but with room to grow, followed by the collection of more materials, food and room.  Those that come into the shelter would be fed.  Those that have eaten too much will be turned away.  But it will start this way.  As more room grows, an office can be set up.  Perhaps a small program like this could get some help.  Perhaps a doctor of psychology or therapy can step into that office.  There to listen, to provide advice, or to provide prescription.  The doctor would not be there to pass judgement, the path that has led to those that come cannot be traced - it is a diverse world.  But if even one or two or three of these individuals can be helped in any way, the doctor may be the solution.  After a bit of growth and healing grace of the doctor, a room can be built.  Cots, blankets, heat and warmth.  A shelter from the cold hard winters, the rains, the sleets and the snow that embitters even the great Postmen - men with blue berets and man-purses.  

Empty Tank
How much can you really buy with $0.71 cents.  I can't even buy a gallon of gasoline for that much.

The experiment hasn't begun yet.  I just need the motivation.  What am I doing tomorrow... hmm... I hope I'm not homeless soon... I do have my pop bottle full of change and plenty of pockets...  Maybe i'll adjust that beret a bit and put down my man-purse.  

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