formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Wonder...

I wonder who she is. I’ve wondered since the first time I saw her from the comfort of my air conditioned car, walking in the full sun and blistering heat of summer, her backpack slung over one shoulder, sleeping bag under the other arm. I still wonder, from the comfort of my heated car, as she walks in the frigid cold, without a coat warm enough to block the arctic blasts.

I wonder what her name is. I wonder if she's near my age, as she appears to be, or if she's actually younger, her life hardening and aging her before her time. I always wonder where she’s going with her purposeful walk and her mouth set in a grim, determined line. I’ve wondered if I could look into her eyes, would I see pride and hope? Or would they be filled with defeat and hurt and anger? But I can’t see her eyes. She keeps them down, avoiding contact with anyone passing. I wonder, is she avoiding their pity? Or their ridicule? Or their apathy?

I wonder what has brought her to where she is. I wonder why she has to walk, carrying what seems to be all she owns. I wonder where the clear plastic pack, like a small child’s, came from? Did she choose it? Does she not mind that everyone can see all her possessions? Or does she simply not care? Is she too proud or just too tired to worry about it?

I wonder where she eats. Or if she has enough to eat. I wonder where she sleeps. At night, when I have to push my dog out the front door to do his business before bed, I steel myself against the wind and far-below-freezing temperatures, and I think of her. I wonder where she is. I wonder if she’s still walking… if she’s still outside, in weather not fit for my dog. I wonder if she’s warm and fed… or if she’s cold and hungry. And minutes later, when I’m in bed, under cozy blankets, my big fuzzy boy curled beside me, lending his warmth and comfort, I wonder where she’s sleeping. I wonder where she had to lay down her sleeping bag, the one she carries with her all the time… I wonder where she’s resting her head.

Most of all, I wonder if I’ll ever be kind enough, or brave enough, to stop her… and simply ask.

31 comments:

Tabitha And Family said...

Diane, this moved me deeply. I have those questions for many homeless I see. This puts things into perspective for many.

Protege said...

This winter many homeless people, here in Scandinavia (yes, we have them) will parish. The government is trying to do the best to help them in this extremely cold weather that has its grip on us for the fourth week...
Beautiful post my friend, again it shows off your your writing talent and your deep thinking and care - very poignant...
This requires reading again.
xo

lakeviewer said...

You took the first step, noticing.

f1trey said...

you have a sweet heart.....:)

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Sometimes our wondering is our inner voice nudging. By posting this I also think you are hoping to be nudged even further by your readers.

Nudge.

Heather said...

This is such a moving post.

I can't even fathom the idea of being homeless - especially in the harsh winter cold. Seeing (or even hearing about) people who live that way breaks my heart and makes me realize how very fortunate I am to live the way I do. Perhaps I won't grumble quite as much tonight as I stand in my freezing yard with Maverick while he does his business. After a few minutes, I'll be snug in my bed, while countless others are trying to remember what it feels like to be warm.

blognut said...

Ask her, Diane. You noticed her for a reason, and you think about her for a reason, too. 'Cause you have a good heart, my friend.

Lee said...

The fact that you see her is something of a modern marvel; they tend to be transparent to most people.

But there is only one person who can answer your questions.

Leeuna said...

What a wonderful post! It touched me deeply. It is heartbreaking to see people who are homeless. And it could happen to any one of us quicker than we realize. Bless you for your kind heart. :)

Pauline said...

make it a matter of when, not if...

Mel said...

Teary eyes. I guess you saw that I posted this as my Facebook status update?

Mr. Knucklehead said...

Di, you know I've been following you for some time now, and this is by far the best thing you've ever written. Poignant, thought-provoking, relevant, and well-crafted.

Fabulous, my dear, fabulous.

Emmy said...

If this is a real person, and I think it is, I know a little bit about her. It's pretty sad though.

Diane said...

Emmy, she's very real. I see her mostly on East Market Street, during the day. What do you know? Email me.

Shanna said...

I think you'll like this post...
http://bringingdinnerback.com/2009/12/24/bringing-dinner-downtown/

sherri said...

Now that you've removed me from the BANNED list, I can comment!

This is so thought-provoking! Loved it. It made me feel even more guilty than I usually do, but I still thank you. I need it.

Jenners said...

This was powerful and thought-provoking. Thank you.

Brian Miller said...

wow. nice piece. i have a big heart for those on the street. one decision different, it coulda been me.

hebba said...

When I lived in San Fran, there was a girl I used to see on the streets. She looked about 15. She had a hooded sweatshirt and a skateboard. She held a sign that said "Good vibes 25 cents" and a hat for the change.

It broke my heart to see her; I wondered what was so terrible at home that life of the street was better. And then I though I didn't want to know.

I tried to talk to her a few times, but she always kept her eyes down and pretended not to hear. SO I'd buy her McDonald's super sized meals and leave them at her feet without saying anything.

Then, one day, she was gone.
I never knew what happened to her but I still think about her.

I wonder if these people know that there are others out there who they touch, though we never meet.

justsomethoughts... said...

"nothing to lose" is easier said than done
but it's not always about "easy".

you noticed

Marla said...

Hi Diane ~ I found you through justsomethoughts and I am so glad I did. I am a follower now because I believe you are kind enough and brave enough. I can hardly wait for the rest of this story ...

tattytiara said...

Agreeing with the other commenters - the first step is noticing. You can always just start with a smile and take it from there!

namaste said...

OMGosh, I've missed you so. I came back today and decided today was the day to start blogging again. I've said it before but there just isn't a good enough reason that I haven't been around lately. Anyhow, I came to visit you and was so impressed. I sat and listened with my heart and I heard you. Love you. Thank you.

mo.stoneskin said...

Do it. You could pretend to be asking directions in order to break the ice.

Greenfingers said...

Well its always lovely and warming to see that somebody like yourself does actually see these people Diane and doesn't close their eyes.
In your own way, by telling her story, you've probably made her day.

Just to be noticed, maybe a quick glimpse and a smile and even for a second is often the only thing that gets us through the feelings of abandonment and loneliness.

Coachdad said...

This might be my favorite post of yours... I, too, often wonder a lot when I drive by someone like her.

It was nice to see you stop by my place... I am not on there often, but you are still one my favorite people.

Oh My Goddess said...

this is haunting.
so many lost souls in the world.
maybe it would be something you could handle, asking her.

Lesley said...

With the sub-zero temperatures we've been having in the UK, I've been wondering about homeless people and cringing at the thought of them spending all night outdoors in this cold.

I hope you do get to talk to this girl. Please let us know what happens.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Came over from Oh My Goddess and I am glad I did. Scary to think that in our current economy that could happen so easily. How do you approach her? So easy to give, but so hard to accept on her part. I am approached from time to time with people who have lost everything and need a place to pitch a tent. I always try to find a task for them to do, so that can have the dignity of "earning their stay. I usually include some food with the deal, too. Like you, I wonder what happens when they move on..........

Eternally Distracted said...

An amazing post. Thanks for opening all of our eyes.

Jeanie said...

You seem to have made a great impact on many people with this post, including me. It sounds like it should be so easy to offer help, but it isn't always, for so many reasons. Please let us know what happens.