Y'all forget sometimes how good y'all've got it. You're waking up each morning on your comfy beds, taking your hot lathery showers, driving your overprotected, brat-faced kids to school in your fancy cars. Well I don't forget. I try to do a little something each day to make things easier for those amongst us who are most vulnerable. Today is the day that we're going to get together, and talk about the issue of homelessness, rather than just turning a blind eye as we so often do.
Think about this. When you're sitting at a stoplight, what do you do? Find a different CD to listen to, pick your nose, and maybe gawk at the person in the car next to you? When what you could be doing is helping that poor laid off veteran who's standing on the corner with a sign, asking for help. Do you think his Sprint GPS cell phone bill is going to pay itself? Do you think that 2-year old Honda Pilot he has parked around the corner is going to pay itself off? Y'all gotta think!
Damn near every time I go to Carytown there's some crusty dude sitting at the end of the I-195 exit with a crudely fashioned sign. So when I get up to the light I reach my hand into that sticky plastic pocked inside my car door and dig out as many pennies, car wash and Chuck E. Cheese tokens as I can possibly find. Then I toss them on the ground near his feet and take off through the yellow light. Screw the horn honking haters behind me who are waiting through two light cycles just to make it off the ramp. This is more important!
Commuters can do a lot of good, because we see the same people every morning. Familiar strangers, who we connect with on some human level. That's why it's nice to work up a little care package once in a while for those who appear to be in need. Include practical items, like last night's leftovers from Chili's, that blanket your dog used to sleep on before he died, and a mini-crowbar that can be used for self defence, or for finding a warm place to sleep. I also like to include sample-sized packets that I get in the mail, like tooth whitening strips and personal lubricant.
They say that kids make up a large portion of the homeless population. I never see them around our town, but statistics say that they're there. So I keep plastic bags full of my kids' old clothes in the trunk to give to homeless people that I see along my travels. I can only assume that they take those items back to wherever their children are. Of course I only give away torn or visibly soiled items, because I can sell the decent ones for a few bucks at a children's consignment shop.
Finally, we come down to the most pitiful of all, homeless people's dogs. I'm sure that having them along helps with the frequency of cash donations, so who can blame these needy folks for stealing cute dogs out of peoples' yards? Certainly not me! But we also have to face the fact that the money you give these panhandlers for "dog food" is going to be used for booze or heroin. Then they're going to feed the dog half-eaten Taquitos out of the 7-11 dumpster. So instead of cash donations, you could give them things that only a dog would want, like a bag of chicken bones, or an opened package of out-of-date chocolates.