Monday, January 23, 2006

A Homeless Man and My Garbage Can

This is getting viewer ship on the other blog I am contributing to so I thought I'd post it back here.

I live in a nice neighborhood but it is close to the downtown area of Sacramento. Sacramento has plenty of transients walking around and pushing shopping carts. I feel bad about them but what really can you do. You donate clothes, give money to the shelter or hand them a buck once in a while. They don’t go away. The problem doesn’t get solved. I personally won’t give money to someone on the street that asks out of fear that they would use it for drugs. You really get the point when they beg in front or near a liquor store. Our Starbucks on Broadway is notorious for beggars and if you have the caffiene habit I have, you begin to recognize them. One always bugs me in the summer about my Porsche. It’s a neat car to him. He always asks questions about it, then asks for money that I know he’s going down the street and spending on a bottle of MD 20/20.

So I am sitting here right now, looking out the window. I just got finished writing a post on my other blog about my HP printer/scanner installation process on the different PC’s and Apple computers I have. It was a frustrating process that still has no end in sight. It’s a beautiful day today. Clear skies and the sun’s out. The air is cool and crisp for California standards at 55 degrees. I am sitting watching a man with a shopping cart pulling cans and bottles out of my recycling can. The instinct I have is to run and chase him out. Why? First off it’s illegal to steal recycling out of cans. I didn’t create the law but we got to enforce them. We cannot let law breakers just slide right? And really, do we need that element running around our neighborhood? My cars have been vandalized. Every weekend when you walk the dog you see a car get broken into, or hear an alarm going off because no one was home. Three years ago we were victims of a home burgarly. Stole my early Nolan Ryan baseball cards, hundreds of cd’s, our guitar collection and our silverware. It’s scary shit. We saw a transient get picked up by the police outside our house last night because he was just walking around aimlessly sitting on peoples staircases or gawking at every car or lady. Today is different though. I was going to mess with the man. Set the alarm off on my truck. Do random shit, like turn up the stereo or videotape him. Anyone of us would do something to get them off your property. Maybe walk outside with a bat. It’s only human to want him to just go away. The dog didn’t like it as she stood barking through the glass.

And then he pulls the Mission tortillas we had just thrown away because they were stale. They were still good but just stale. I watched him pull his own bag out and place the tortillas in there. He pushed the cans back. Cleaned up his mess and headed toward the recycling plant with his cart. He was a very clean man. I have seen him many times before pushing his cart through our neighborhood. He never says a word. Smiles when you make eye contact. Just a completely harmless man who wants to not be bothered. I’m sure he knows more of what’s going on than I.

I got pretty bummed out just now, watching him walk away. Is it really our fault people our homeless. It scares me to even want to believe that. I choose not to though. It’s not that I am a heartless bastard, it’s because I really can’t. It’s instinct. I didn’t cause that directly. I don’t put people on the street, evict them by jacking the rent or even am responsible for firing people. People sometimes do it to themselves, with drug problems, having a load of kids, imperfect morality or bad life decisions. We don’t make people stupid. But what of the man who visited? Who was he and why does he live on the street? We’ll never really know even if we asked.

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