Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Homeless In My Town. Have You Seen Them?

I was there to have my iPhone examined. Nothing else. Just a quick fix and get out. 
You all should know by now that my life is never that simple. 

After much waving of the hands and long-winded explanations (mine, not his) the technician announced,
"The only option is to factory reset your phone, ma'am."
"Did you back up on the cloud?"
"You had a backup, right?" 
"Did you...??"
"Do NOT factory reset my phone until you check this one other thing, Sir."
Too late. Five thousand pictures gone. Let me say that again. Five thousand pictures g.o.n.e.

I was not a happy camper. He got that you've-got-to-be-kidding look from me and I tried not to throw a hissy-fit in the store in front of God and everybody...and her.  Yes, her. This annoying woman who would not stop trying to strike up a conversation with me. I was soooo mad. I buried my head and smirky face into the bowels of my pocketbook for a minute while the irky technician assisted the lady behind my right shoulder. 
 "I cannot believe this," I muttered in despair.
"Oh, I knoooowww that feeling," said she.
Go away, Lady. I'm having a pity party here and YOU are not invited.

She began to explain to the techie that she only wanted a new cellphone. She was unemployed, living in a homeless shelter, no car, no money, nothing. She couldn't properly look for a job without a phone and she couldn't afford a phone because she didn't have a job. He told her how much cash she would need to get a "free phone" as she'd requested and what sort of documentation would be required. She had none of it. 

I don't know if I was more ashamed of myself for ignoring her or not offering to help. While I moaned about lost photographs, she'd lost more than I can ever imagine. Why does the Universe always do this to me when I'm just gearing up for a colossal display of drama??!!


She left the store empty-handed. 
I climbed out of my pocketbook.
Oh, the irony.

Maybe I won't yell at Mr. Knows-Nothing-Repairman and keep that to myself. Maybe I won't tell his supervisor. Mmmmmaybe he has children to feed. Maybe I'll just have to deal with the picture loss and move on. Maybe I'll have to make peace with the stupid cloud.  I really really really hate the cloud.  He ordered a new phone for me and I zipped up my pouty face to go home. When I turned around to leave, I saw a man walk past the ceiling to floor windows of the store. He was hunched over, disheveled, pushing a little cart and wearing a raggedy backpack. 

Another one??! Really??! Today??!

"Is that a homeless man?" I asked the clerk. 

"I think so."

"Does he walk past here often?"
"Yes, several times a week I see him walking the same way and then back again."

"Where do the homeless people sleep in our town? I never see them on our streets. Where do they go?" I asked.
He didn't answer.

Maybe that's why I needed to be blessed and confronted by the presence of the needy today. And made to look closer at passersby and too-young-young-women who just need a home and a phone and a chance.
Maybe I do see them and pretend I don't. 

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Sue said...

Ouch for the loss of photos...but I know what you mean, whenever I get all geared up for that well deserved tantrum someone way worse off grabs my attention...

Mimi Lenox said...

Sue - Happens every time.
P.S. We can throw tantrums over lesser things

Mark In Mayenne said...

I thought I was having a bad day last week when I missed a big solo entry at a concert. Then I discover that the partner of a friend died.

The Gal Herself said...

This was ME today. Riding the el home a man sat next to who smelled. My eyes started to water. I thought to myself, why do they always plop down next to me? Then I stole a glance at him -- snowy white sideburns and belongings filling his pockets and a bag. Shame on me. I'm filled with compassion in the abstract. It's important to see the homeless upfront and personal.

Mimi Lenox said...

Sue - We all deserve a tantrum every now and then.

Mark - Perspective. Hits you hard sometimes. How are you??

Gal - "I'm filled with compassion in the abstract" is a powerfully written observation, but I don't think it really applies to you. As long as I have known you and your blog, you've always been highly intune with the needy in your community and have inspired me to pay attention. YOU are no abstract chair-sitter, my friend.

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