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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Monday, February 19, 2007

Cold Miami

How cold was it in Miami today?

This cold.





Sure, compared to the snow storms, the blizzard wraps, the blinding blankets of white up where you are, this is chump change, thermostat-wise.

But won't you spare a thought for those who are homeless, poor and cold in South Florida tonight?





I'm sitting pretty in my warm home, with the heater all the way up, with my cute little dog exuding body heat as he snuggles up beside me, watching the Rio de Janeiro carnival on Globo.

Next to me, are my parents, my father snoring gently after having enjoyed the Las Vegas version of the NBA All-Star Game.

My mother is rapt with attention at the Sambodromo goings-ons, as ever, the most enthusiastic carnavalesca in the family.

But somewhere out there, are hundreds of people who have fished out an old poncho from a dumpster, have begged for some money so they can buy some food, placing it inside their ripped up bag from CVS pharmacy -- alongside all their worldly possessions.

If they were up North, they'd have prepared for the cold.

Maybe even kipped down at a shelter, instead of wandering around South Beach, in search of a corner which didn't blow its Atlantic breezes into their bones.

Sure, they'll probably survive the night.

It's "only 51 degrees", right?

But just in case, God bless all the homeless of the world tonight, wherever they are.

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5 Comments:

  • Homeless in MN.

    Many years ago, I worked in a movie theater near the Mississippi. Homeless Indians (the Twin Cities has/had the highest urban Native American population in the US) used to hang out under the bridge nearby and drink Lysol. In the middle of the day one day, one of them came in and stood near the video game machines trying to warm up. We usually chased them out, but it was the middle of the day, winter, and there were no customers around, so I told the pople working the counter to leave him alone. That is, until the cashier told me, "Uh, dude, he just fell over".

    I went over and yelled at the guy but he was unconscious. I called 911 and a team of paramedics showed up. They questioned him, asking him what year it was, but he had no idea. They took him out to the ambulance and I watched as it rocked back and forth for about a half hour. I assume they were pumping his stomach/trying to save his life.

    It was really freaky.

    On reflection, I suppose I opened the company up to some sort of liability, but regardless of how someone ends up at the bottom, it's pretty low to deny them something as simple as warmth.

    By Blogger Ploorian, at Mon Feb 19, 02:12:00 am GMT-5  

  • Oh my God, homeless in Minneapolis, can you imagine?

    a hardscrabble childhood in Illinois, a stint at a boarding school for disadvantaged kids, a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Navy, a failed marriage, an uneven work life, and, finally, two trips to prison on drug charges.

    Sigh.

    There are a million stories out there, and although people make choices to take them to point Z, in their lives, it's still hard not to feel compassion and empathy for their cold nights in tents.


    On reflection, I suppose I opened the company up to some sort of liability, but regardless of how someone ends up at the bottom, it's pretty low to deny them something as simple as warmth.


    That was kind of you nonetheless, Ploorian.

    I have a friend at a coffeeshop who gives these homeless guys, who crowd around South Beach, because they know moneyed tourists hang out there, some coffee.

    And more importantly than that, she gives them respect, and a warm word.

    Yeah, sometimes they just want money to get high or loaded.

    But so many of them look at one with pathetically grateful eyes when you just engage them in conversation for a few minutes.

    Why not?

    Homeless people aren't usually dangerous.

    They're just lost souls, in this crazy world we call life.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 19, 02:24:00 am GMT-5  

  • Oh my God, homeless in Minneapolis, can you imagine?

    Minnesotans, in general, are very tough. I enjoy taking walks and will do so year-round unless the windchill gets below about 10 below. But sleeping out in a tent when the ambient temp gets below freezing? Unless I have a lot of modern amenities (high-tech sleeping bag, propane heater) I don't know if I could take it.


    There are a million stories out there, and although people make choices to take them to point Z, in their lives, it's still hard not to feel compassion and empathy for their cold nights in tents.

    There's the notion that you can judge a society on how it treats it's poor. Regardless of the reason, regardless of who is responsible for that person being destitute, a modern, wealthy, liberal democracy has a responsibility to make sure those people are taken care of. If we don't take care of them, we've proven that we're morally bankrupt.

    That was kind of you nonetheless, Ploorian.

    I didn't see it as any extra kindness (and I didn't relate the story to show what a great humanitarian I am) but something which if didn't do, would be cruel.

    And more importantly than that, she gives them respect, and a warm word.

    If they aren't abusive, why not give them a warm word? These are people truly living on the edge who may or may not be alive the next day.

    Yeah, sometimes they just want money to get high or loaded.

    As one guy in that story points out, they're sick. They don't get loaded for the fun of it, they get loaded so they can function.

    Homeless people aren't usually dangerous.

    They're just lost souls, in this crazy world we call life


    Yup.

    By Blogger Ploorian, at Mon Feb 19, 02:45:00 am GMT-5  

  • Yeah, sometimes they just want money to get high or loaded.

    That should be ammended to be most of the time. Don't want to believe me? no problem, you can experiment. Next time one of 'em asks for your spare change, tell 'em you'll buy them lunch or a sandwich and watch the expression on their face.

    They want your money, not your food.

    And Saturday morning, it was a lovely 20F in Tallahassee...

    By Blogger I R A Darth, at Mon Feb 19, 12:58:00 pm GMT-5  

  • They want your money, not your food.

    Yeah, that's true, and it used to annoy me. As I've gotten older I've come to the conclusion that irregardless, we have some moral obligation to help people on the edge. Even to the extent of providing them with a little beer money. Generally, these aren't people who want to get loaded, they need to get loaded.

    Look at it this way, you can give them a little spare change and maybe they'll be able to buy some beer that was manufactured at a brewery under FDA guidelines. OTOH, if they can't get beer, they'll filter Lysol through bread, which may or may not kill them or make them go blind.

    And Saturday morning, it was a lovely 20F in Tallahassee...

    LOL. Did everyone buy up all of the bread and milk at the grocery store?

    By Blogger Ploorian, at Mon Feb 19, 01:33:00 pm GMT-5  

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