They looked like they were out a video game. You know the one about zombies. Left for Dead. They dragged their feet through the station, little energy to put their heads up, and watch where they were going. They simply checked the feet around them for proximity. People avoided them like they’d catch something. The homeless.
I avoided them as though they’d attack me, leave my body on the ground as people watched. Maybe eat my brains. The ideas I have of the homeless are dehumanizing. They’re crazy schizophrenics not taking their medication, drug addicts, and just nasty. Living in NYC has changed my perspective, how are they unworthy of basic needs? Why are they even looked upon as invalid if they do have basic needs and want more?
The other night a man came onto the train asking for money for shoes. It’s December in NYC. I wanted to reach into my wallet and give him as much as he needed. Yet I didn’t. Questions of how I know he’s actually spending it on shoes came up. I realize I mainly give to parents with children. The babies don’t need to go without. Deep down I know it’s a possible scheme; it’s all a hustle. Who am I to judge?
My friend’s parents didn’t want her going to NYC because they didn’t like how the homeless were treated. I had to ask myself, are they doing anything to help the homeless where we’re from? NYC is simply more open about their problem. Maybe we aren’t. Walking downtown back home, my ex and I saw a woman drop a toy. We ran to give it to her so her child wouldn’t cry. As we walked away, he looked at me and said, “I think she’s homeless.” Were they helping her out? Or just criticizing one of our biggest cities for something they can’t hide?
Every day I try to banish my previous about the homeless. I feel guilty judging people on preconceived notions that haven’t been proven. The negatives I’ve been fed all my life don’t have to be facts.