Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kingdom of Cardboard

My frequent trips to Los Angeles, Venice in particular, has revealed to me the severity of the homeless population in the area. From the moment you leave Union Station, perhaps even before, you are bound to spot the decrepit, ill-attired folk who carry their life around in an armada of suitcases, a rusted, squealing cart, or simply in their pockets. Like broken machines they lay hunched over themselves, staring blankly into their own soles. They may mumble, beg, or say nothing at all, but to most they say only two words "Help me".

I cannot, in all honesty, provide a cure for their financial situation, and many already dedicate their lives to nourishing their bodies, but I do believe that much can be done.

My first plea is simple, talk to one of them. You may think that many of them mumble to themselves due to a mental disease. However, I believe that many might do it simply out of loneliness, when is the last time you spoke to a homeless person or saw them conversing with others? They retreat into their own minds because this reality provides them nothing except the most meager means of survival. My demand does not require that you are resourceful in anything except friendliness and willingness. Show them that society hasn't completely forgotten about them.

A second demand would be to perhaps motivate them to engage their minds, even in the simplest of senses. An inactive, lethargic mind is nothing, but a decaying corpse of an organ. Find a way to engage them, discuss with them. You might think that they have nothing to say about the world that would interest you, but I, myself, have been proven wrong by even more modest sources.

A third and final request, learn why they are here, learn their story, their reason for being in such a situation. I can almost guaranteed you that, if nothing else, you'll be provided with a deep insight into a spectrum of life that you had probably never even conceived of, let alone experienced.

What is to come of one who agrees to such demands. I do not know. What is the use of doing any of this? I cannot say for certain. Why should I waste my time? To learn, to teach, and to grow. Let their story and their life instill you with a greater appreciation for your own. Engage their mind so that your own mind might be engaged. Learn about them, so that you might learn about yourself. Give them hope, so that you yourself might learn to allow hope to come from the most meager of origins.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tales from the Sapling (Part 4)

By the luck of the wind I had managed to guide myself into more open terrain. My peers seemed rather content nestled in their own little circle of fists, feet, and puke. I fell back into the nearest open stool. As my rump sunk into the heavenly cushion, my eyes dropped down to my feet, per habit. Apparently I had stepped in a puddle of puke without realizing it. "Hope my employer doesn't ask for his boots back". I must have laughed because I soon heard a slight, tenor voice "Never knew a sober man to laugh at puke on his boots." I froze, my face falling flat as I heard an orchestra of laughter building at the remark. I had happened across another group, and, if they were anything like my friends, I was about to be a few teeth shorter before the hour was out.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tales from the Sapling (Part 3)

"Oh look! It's the new guy!" came bellowing out from the rear of the tavern. "Which one?" followed. "There's only one you.." I never had an ear for small talk to be truthful, so it was probably just habit that I tuned out what he said after that. I had to focus on a much more pressing matter, navigating my way around a pen full of drunks. Easy in thought difficult in execution. Each foot, each sway of the torso, each blink had to be perfectly timed to avoid having someone's fist mistake you for another drunk.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tales from the Sapling (Part 2)

If it were my choice I'd be back in my home, buried comfortably in my own pillow, but the company decided to locate me an hours travel away and I'd rather sleep with the drunk than torture myself with another mile, however enticing the destination. My eyes had decided to carefully watch my feet, lest they try to run away without me, so I was already a few steps inside before I even began to notice my surroundings. As I looked up any hope of relaxation was swept way by the man tumbling ass over elbow in front of my feet. I had stepped into a wooden cage. A cage holding not beasts, but something far worse. Creatures so aggressive, so obnoxious, so hopelessly mundane that even a sage would have his patience torn asunder by their ways, my fellow workers.

Tales from the Sapling (Part 1)

"Tough day today sapling?", said a man slouched by the tavern door. He reeked of spirits and his near toothless maw didn't do him any favors as he belted out his guffaws. I did not give the drunk the honor of a reaction, for his words, though not elegantly spoken, were true. My entire body felt weighed down with the pressure of my own sweat stained across my skin, and my stench was likely not much better than that of the drunk. Despite my hatred of manual labor I had taken up a job at the nearby logging company, my belly wouldn't be filled by my scrolls and books. "Bloody slave drivers!", I thought, my bitterness provoked by the drunk. "I have twice the mind of any of them and they get to make the decisions?!". My arguments though, however valid, were pointless. They had the gold, they had the seniority, and I was the sapling.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

An Rational Idealist

Quite simply is a person who uses rational means to obtain fantastic hopes. Now you know.