December 07, 2006

On Homelessness

Yesterday, I was coming home from work, and I can honestly, HONESTLY not remember when I had been that cold last.

Perhaps living in Sahelian and Tropical countries has made me weak. Perhaps. But I was caught in this intense wind that made me want to cling to a telephone poll for stability. This wind went right through my thin trousers fabric and nestled into my flesh. It burned my face and froze the blood in my cheeks. It attacked my toes and, like a diabetic's numb extremities, made them feel bloated and dead. It attacked every exposed corner of my body relentlessly.

And yet, I see homeless people everywhere. With thin, old army blankets over their shoulders, and short socks that leave their calf exposed. With sweat-soaked gloves and hats that probably have little effect against the numbing cold. They settle in nooks between two buildings, right in the cross-winds created by these large architectural structures. Within the warm confines of my comforter, I wonder: How do they do it? How can you stand spending a whole winter shivering until your back and leg muscle hurt?

10 comments:

Carl said...

it helps to be frightened, insane and/or in the last stages of self destruction via your favorite drug.

dedicris said...

They are souls. At sunrise They come down on earth, at sunset They live. Strudel

Anonymous said...

Moi aussi, j'angoisse un peu l'hiver a Washington ....apres les plus ou moins chaudes temperatures de Madagascar, en tous cas a
Tsarabanjina.....

Mom.

Anonymous said...

You have such a big, big heart.

I shudder to think of it. But now I wonder - are there no homeless shelters in DC?

Hugz,

Beav'

dedicris said...

okay okay they L E A VE - strudel

dedicris said...

are there no homeless shelters in DC? - ONCE UPON A TIME- Once upon a time there was a Granny with her three dogs. Her income just enough
to pay a low rent and feed the pets. One dark cold night -who knows why and how come- a colony of trained ants enters her room and bites her in bed. Granny cries for help but nobody hears. She takes the dogs and rushes out. Now Granny knocks at hotels'. No room for Mary, the pregnant mother of our Lord, no room for Granny and her three dogs. A policeman drives her to the Shelter. They will give you milk tomorrow morning. No dogs allowed in. Twenty people and twenty beds in the large room. Forty shoes and forty eyes. That's why Granny's flat is a thick-paper box, enough for her and three dogs. There is no cold inside the box, because four hearts may warm up the world. Strudel

Zohreh said...

Where I live in Winnipeg, Canada, the temperatures are often -40 F, with a windchill that can go up to -58 F. And there are a lot of homeless people. I can barely walk to my car without getting frost bite. It is insanely cold. In Alberta, where I'm originally from, the premier, Ralph Klein, decided a few years ago to close most homeless shelters because they promote laziness. (????) We live in a strange world.

A-tony said...

I got an extra winter coat. I will give it away as soon as possible.

Tony

Qalamana said...

Try with grog: hot milk, juice from one lemon, hoeny and a bit of rum: it's quite effective!

007 in Africa said...

Carl, I agree. Only somebody not quite right can withstand these types of temperature. And Eskimos.

Zoreh, that's terrible!
A-tony, that's very generous of you...

Qalamana, I tried this yesterday. Yum!