Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Homeless Poignancy

What's with the homeless = poignancy feeling I get every time a drunk and bumbling homeless person wobbles up to me and asks me for change? I feel like there is some hidden meaning in the action. Like I should suddenly find out something about the world that I didn't see before. Isn't that what homeless people represent in shit like books and movies anyway? The idea that the protagonist has been missing throughout the entire story and then he or she finally sees the glorious light in something ugly and forgettable. But then there's real life. The drunk and bumbling homeless man who wobbled up to me tonight and asked me for a ciagarette had no light for me to see. I am not moved to write a poem about it. I'm not moved to relate it to a movie. I guess I'm moved enough to blog about it. But the word "blog" has become something that doesn't carry poignancy with it, but more just a "talking about shit" kind of essence. That's why I like blogging. It doesn't have to be heavy.

I don't often find poignant discoveries about myself and world when I encounter homeless people. My life is not a movie. However, to the contrary, homeless people I encounter seem to be on the prowl for some poignant discovery for themselves. They are their own screenplay, asking for change, feeling hopeless, hoping for some movie-esque event to take place and change their lives for the better right before the credits roll...

The man who I encountered tonight was begging not only for a cigarette, but also some sort of weird wisdom/soulful intensity/verifcation of his poignant ways or what have you. It was actually hard to understand him between his mumbles. But he fit into the category of the homeless person you encounter who tries to poetically sum up big ideas with small phrases. After telling him that I didn't have a cigarette, he made his way to the revolving door to leave the building we were in and he just stood there. It seemed that he was trying to push through it, but was too drunk to do so. I asked him if he needed help pushing the door, because I like to bring this sort of thing onto myself whenever I can (lie).

"We can all stand on our own."

He mumbled other things as well, but this is what I made out from it. We can all stand on our own. Yes, we can. Unless we have some sort of physical disability, most of us are able to stand on our own. But of course he didn't mean this literally. Drunk and homeless statements such as this one can only come from a figurative point of view. We can all stand on our own. We don't need help from anyone else, girl who is awkwardly standing there listening to me. How dare you ask if I need help. I'm strong. Look at me. Overcome with strength.

He actually did make it through the door which I was pretty impressed by. He went outside, wandered around. I thought he was gone. I continued to wait for my bus. Suddenly he was back in my view. Back through the doors. Back in my personal bubble.

With alcohol on his breath he told me he had a question. I told him to ask me his question, since I do this all day anyway, what can one more question hurt? Well, after mumbling and apologizing for taking so long to ask the mystery question he was going to ask, he ended up telling me that I was something along the lines of "worth it", or maybe "you have to believe in you" or something like that. I told him thanks and if he didn't have a question for me, then he'd have to leave me alone. But the poignancy! This homeless man was desparate for his pertinent wisdom and feelings to be doused upon the public, rum flavored breath and all! It got to the point of awkward, but he eventually left me alone and then my bus finally came. I got on and went home. The heavy importance of a movie life was gone from mine, and I was more than fine with it. Noticing fellow bus riders who look like my friends is more my style, yo.

I realize this man has an addiction. I realize he's probably been shit on by a lot of the people in his life. I realize he was reaching out, perhaps in an interally desperate, be it though daily,attempt to connect with someone somewhere and receive some verification that he is a human being worth something besides ignorance. Maybe I'm wrong about all this stuff, but I've been watching a lot of Intervention lately, so it's got to count for something. I think that's why I asked him if he needed help with the door...

Anyway, I think my point here is that I did not feel poignant in that situation, though I felt I should have felt that way because that's what the movies make you want to feel. But when are movies ever like real life? They're not. Homeless man felt poignant because he was drunk and had major life issues. But there was such a disconnect that there was absolutely no middle ground between these two points of view. We both stood and had an incredibly awkward interaction, from my end of things anyway. No light was seen. No resolution made. Just an observation by a sober girl and a interally and personally magnificent speech made by a drunk. And now I realize that movies capitalize on the space between sober, employed girl and drunk, homeless guy. Way to go, Hollywood.

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