Monday, November 16, 2009


One very large culture shock that we got when we came to Salt Lake City are the sheer volumes of homeless persons that call the streets of Salt Lake home. Nearly every street corner has someone holding a sign that proclaims the person to be "Homeless/Homeless Vet/Homeless Elderly Person" in need of "work/food/shelter/money", always followed up by "God Bless" or "Anything Helps". At one point I would have given every single person something; in San Antonio I gave one such woman a few bananas since I had just been to the grocery store, and man a few packs of fruit snacks that I happened to have in the car. I felt that if they want money they should find a job but food is something that is useful to everyone.
Fast forward to today. There are so many people on the streets of SLC that we have become numb to their begging. I often wonder if that particular person is really in need or if they have made a business out of begging, because (unfortunately) some have. I think about the fact that Larabee goes to a job every day that he does not particularly like to support his family the best he can and cannot justify giving away his hard-earned money to someone who may very well go home to a 3 bedroom house. I feel so jaded.
We do have one man who is at home on the Taco Bell lawn a few blocks away. We have dubbed him "Hagrid" because, well, he looks like Hagrid from Harry Potter. He is big, burly, hairy and wild-eyed. In the months that we have been here I have NEVER seen him begging or holding a sign. He walks back and forth between the Taco Bell and who knows where every day with all of his worldly possessions on his back. I wonder about him. Is he mentally unstable? Is he dealing with a drug or alcohol addiction? What was he like as a young child? Does he have any family? Is there anyone out there who knows his name and cares about him? For some reason he does not scare me, though I do not think I would approach him while pregnant or if I had children with me. I would like to see if he is 'all there' though, and see what happened in his life to lead him down this path. I guess my heart goes out to him because he makes his way in life without asking of others while others ask far too much when they are capable of so much more.
Every time I think about "Hagrid" I am thankful that, no matter what circumstances may fall upon me in my life, I will never be homeless. I know that I have family that would help me, and I also know that I am pretty self-reliant. I know I have been given the skills to keep me off of the streets. That is a pretty big thing if you think about it. I am thankful that Larabee is a good provider and that he does so selflessly. I am, in general, thankful.

No comments:

Post a Comment