I was totally stumped. No idea what I was going to write today. That is until I read Jim McKeever’s post over at Irish Investigations where he wrote about the hidden camera test of kindness video that’s been making the rounds. In a nutshell, a videographer compared peoples’ reactions to a man in a suit on crutches falling and a homeless man on crutches falling.
To read Jim’s post click here.
Years ago, on a cold winter day I parked my car at Hotel d’Arts where the homeless organization I was working for had secured parking spots for staff.
Man it was cold that day. I don’t remember how cold but it might as well have been -100 for how quickly my exposed skin started to freeze the minute I stepped out of the car.
I rushed down Centre Street toward the 12th Avenue intersection, passing men who were standing on ‘cash corner’ and waiting for anyone who might have a day’s work for them. Most of these men were homeless or at the very least, living way below the poverty line. I probably knew some of them, but I was too focused on walking the two blocks to work as fast as I could to notice.
Shivering from the cold, I waited for the light to change. As I crossed Centre Street, I slipped on the ice and came crashing down on the road.
I must have hit my head because I felt dizzy and nauseous. I couldn’t get up or even call out for help. I looked at the men on cash corner, my eyes pleading for help, and not one person moved to help me.
I remember thinking about what would happen when the light turned red. Panic set in so I crawled on my stomach like soldiers do in basic training to get under that net to the next obstacle in their exercise. I crawled/dragged myself to the other side of the street to the building that stands there. I pulled myself into a standing position using the building as support and waited there until my head stopped swimming. Then I walked to work.
I was not angry that day. More confounded, I think. Surprised that no one helped me.
In retrospect, it was almost like I just accepted that no one helped. I imagine most homeless folks have felt this way at one time or another. This is what it must be like to feel invisible.
~ HUMP DAY CHRONICLES ~
Having asked several people over the years what the hardest part about being homeless is, most answered along these lines: It’s not when people look at you as if you’re disgusting, it’s when people look right through you as if you’re invisible. Have you ever felt invisible?