Sorry Guy

Been a little slow on the posts. School’s got me busy.

This happened a little over a week ago and I’ve been thinking about it since. Tim and myself rolled up to a ledge spot in Hollywood to find a transvestite homeless person posted up on the ledge and repacking his shopping cart. If you are familiar with the area between Sunset and Santa Monica you know the tranny ratio is high. So this dude is refolding clothes, taking items out of his countless plastic bags and reshuffling them to get the best fit. Needless to say I was immediately bummed but he was actually down the ledge enough that we could still hit it. You can only skate the ledge one way so no problem. Living in a place with a high homeless population tends to make a person somewhat invisible to the homeless. Having lived in San Francisco, where the homeless population is very visible and integrated into all crevices of the city, you feel like you are telling someone that you don’t have any change for them so often that you simply begin to ignore any person you may be walking past. You tend to get so good at this that eventually you stop noticing, or looking at, or acknowledging all but the few who yell and make themselves unavoidable. I can’t imagine what it does to a human brain to be ignored. Regardless of the causes or reasons for a homeless person’s situation, to be ignored day in and out has got to have consequences. So, I was ignoring this dude. He wasn’t asking for anything or making conversation, and out of practice neither was I. At one point I did notice Tim said hello to the guy. We kept skating. He finished his work and sat down to enjoy a cigarrette. We kept skating. The ledge was not grinding too well and I asked Tim if he had wax. He didn’t. We skated some more. About a minute or so after I had asked Tim for wax, as I passed by the homeless man he reached out offering me a candle. There was a second of confusion on my part. A split second of being unsure what this gesture was. Having had plenty of bad experiences with homeless folks who had lost their wits it has become easy to assume this is the category they all belong to, and in this second I was attempting to interpret this situation through that view. But obviously it wasn’t that. This guy was helping me out. Nobody asked him to but he was helping me out. I actually looked at the guys face. I don’t even think he said anything he just held out the giant red candle to me. I made sure it was ok and that he knew I was going to ruin his candle. He assured me it was ok. I waxed the ledge, returned the candle and tried to express to the guy how grateful I was, and how much he helped me out. I hope he felt I meant it. It is a terrible thing to be treated like something you are not. Gotta remember this one.

DO YOURSELF A FAVOR:

One of the best ever.

About Artform

"One Day at a Time"
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