24 July 2008

H Is For Homeless

Well, it's been about 24 hours, and it's bugging me to the point that I need to just do this and get it out of my system. I'll try to keep it simple.

Yesterday evening I stopped for a cup of coffee on the way home. It was pouring rain, and there were several of us waiting in line. Passing the time, I just happened to notice Preston, slipping in the side door quietly to get in out of the rain, and to use the John. I really didn't think much of it, other than that I was sorry he was out pacing in the rain. When he came out, I called him over to offer him a cup of coffee. He came over, soaked to the bone, and shaking all over from being in the A/C in wet clothes. I called him by name, and asked him how he was, and would he like a cup of coffee. Always smiling, he said hello, and promptly asked me if I was Paul McCartney. Here's the crux: All of this time, and after other conversations, I have been deceiving myself about the reality of things. It turns out Preston is utterly homeless. Preston sleeps under whatever he can find that might keep him dry. Preston eats out of dumpsters and garbage cans except for getting a couple dollars a day from a merchant down the street, and getting some leftovers, mistakes, and whatever they can sneak him down at the Sub shop. Preston has no disability check or VA benefits. No healthcare, mental health services, no nothing. I just fooled myself into thinking that his situation was better than it was, I guess so that I could sleep better at night in my cozy, dry bed under a proper roof. I got those looks from the other folks at the counter just for speaking to him. "Hillbilly, you're just too sentimental and melodramatic- Get over it."
H Is For Homeless
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Anne said...

No you're not.
H is for Human.

maudkristina said...

I second that. Well said, sis.

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