I walked past Double Happy this morning, thats my name for the homeless guy on the cemetery corner. He always wears a smile twice as big as anyone else, so I call him Double Happy. Here is a post I wrote in September last year about giving …
“Dollar” was all he said as I walked past this man in obvious need of more than a dollar. I had spotted him from a distance and summed him up. Look fearless… thats what Dad always said, even if your petrified front up, walk tall and strong. Dont make eye contact… dont smile at anyone…thats what city life has taught me.
When did I become this person who doesnt see and doesnt hear, and most certainly doesnt give, not a smile not a dollar not anything dont give anything away. Phew… I dont carry change, perfect out I reason.
“Hello beautiful lady, how are you going today” the next guy was more used to me passing I see him most days, he sits on the sidewalk like some derelict Buddha, gut hanging out over his crossed legs with cardboard signs pleading his case, weve built up a rapport I smile at him and give him a wave. He looks happy, I wonder what he thinks as the crowd walks by with their poker faces.
I saw this same guy catching the late bus home after I had been on the turps, he had moved to a spot outside a small asian foodcourt that had seen better days. As I waited for my bus becoming more and more sober by the minute as the cold air hit me on the sidewalk I watched the shop owners in that wee foodcourt file out finished for their day at 11pm, passing the man, some threw parcels of food at him and kind words most acknowledged him and said goodnight. As the last shop owner left the man pulled his cardboard boxes around himself like blankets, and made him self comfortable across the entrance to the mall, tucked out of the wind, and happy, he was asleep in minutes, and the food court had security of sorts.
I approach the park on the corner of K’rd with caution, I like to know where they are, where he is before I walk through, are there other people walking my way, people with purpose, support safety in numbers, there he is its 8am in the morning hes out to it on the ground one day, on the park bench the next, usually without fail baring his butt cheeks to the world as he curls in a fetal position in his trackies and t-shirt, where will he go when it gets cold, does he have shoes and a jacket somewhere, does he have underpants?
The walking dead are the ones that scare me the most, that glazed over expression and if you actually look into their eyes they look opaque, if our eyes are the gateways to our soul then these gates are shut, is there a soul in there? I cant tell they let nothing in and nothing out other than the substances they live and die for… live and die for.
“Hi” I call and wave out, they scurry away pretending they havent seen or heard the lady from the house rented on the corner by a new family, my family. They look back – is she mad? it took 6 months before a neighbor said hello back when we moved from a small rural village of less than 30 houses to the burbs in Auckland. Is this really the world we live in?
When did a smile begin to cost us to much, when did kindness become dangerous, when did we stop giving? What happens if we forget how to give do we also forget how gratifying it is? Does that part of us shut down, what example are we setting for the next generation will they live only for themselves?
“Why did you say hello to that lady Mum?” “Because its nice to say hello to people even when you dont know them Darling, for some people its the only hello they will get in their day” her warm little hand in mine her beautiful blue eyes and face turned up to mine…. she doesnt know her Mum was one of those people just waiting for someone to say Hello.
Give a little.