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Homeless in Seattle
Wednesday, Nov 8, 2006 from Seattle, Washington
Last night. Grab my phone. Lock the door behind me. Call the ‘rents. Wait for the bus. Pay $1.50 and hop off at 3rd Ave. and Bell. Head to Belltown Bistro. Walk a block and run into Anthony (or tony).
I noticed a guy several feet ahead of me. He looked pretty well dressed from a distance, and he was for his situation. As I walked by he said “S**t” and immediately turned to me to apologize. I smiled and said “No worries,” which I say way too often. Anyways, this caught his attention. “I love how you folks say ‘No worries.” We so got into this conversation. Apparently in New Orleans, where Anthony is from, they don’t say “No worries.” I chuckled and asked his name and shook his hand. I couldn’t understand what he said, but his name was something like Wilden or Wilton. He was fast to tell me how much he despises the name and wonders what the heck his parents were thinking to name him that. Hence why he goes by his middle name Anthony.
Anthony told me a little about this and little about that. I didn’t know what to believe. But I told myself, “I can’t question his integrity anymore than anyone else I’ve met on this trip.” I think people tend to when it comes to homeless people. He told me he was in the military and that he felt guilty to ask people for things and that he wasn’t just a panhandler.
Anthony eventually asked me for $13.57. All I’m thinking to myself is, “How can I tell him no after I asked hundreds of people for money so I could get myself across the country?” All he wanted was a new pair of shoes. I had to take his word. Since this trip has started I’ve found a much bigger piece of my heart telling me to be generous and share with others. Well I only had a little cash in my wallet and had to save some for diner. I said what the heck, and I gave him $3, my favorite number. I can only hope that he did the right thing with the money, but I’ll never know. He also insisted that he meet me the next day so he could repay me. I passed, though he did give me his apparent phone number.
When I told Anthony my story of traveling he immediately felt a connection between us. And I listened, becuase he knew what he was talking about. He talked about finding yourself when you travel, how you get lonely at times, and it’s a great exploration of self. He offered his wisdom of traveling, which was right on the mark. It was good to stop and listen.
Further down where I waited for Nicole there was another homeless guy. He was asking for change of all those who walked by. And this is in a nice area of town, expensive restaurants and such. These people walking by clearly have money. The question is always that it’s probably going towards drugs or alcohol. But if that change was going towards a new pair of shoes for someone, that’s well spent change or dollars. Our spare change could go a long ways, but it seems like we (I have to include myself) can’t even be willing to give up a quarter for someone we assume doesn’t deserve it.
I’ve always been worried about the huge and growing wealth gap in the country. There is a great need to take care of people in our own country, there’s no doubt about it.
And to close this subject I want to send everyone to The Snowsuit Effort. Ryan is a Detroit based photographer who does a great job looking into homeless life.
Posted: Nov 8, 2006 | 633 words | 0 Comments