By Donald Norman
Homeless---eeegh just the word leaves a bad taste in your mouth. You’ve already seen a lot of articles on the homeless: someone wrote what they saw and felt, maybe someone even went undercover for a week and wrote what they saw and felt. The plain truth is I not only stand accused, but am found guilty of being homeless (there’s that bad taste again).
First of all you should know how I became Homeless. I’m from Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I was with my wife 16 years. 14 of which I was beautiful, the last tow a living hell. When my mother passed away in 1987 I started smoking crack. We slowly drifted apart. I never saw my wife get high but she started somewhere along the line and turned to prostitution to support her habit. Her brother and sister—who smoke crack—told me of her habit, the prostitution I saw with my own eyes. I shed a silent tear, crawled down to the bus station on my hands and knees, taking 50% of the blame, my good and bad memories, two suitcases-which are still at the bus station—and the one silent tear, tomorrow will be the same way, You’ll very seldom see a smile because there’s no reason to, they’re sacred, lonely, and bad thoughts seem to hide the good memories, they’re hesitant to be (because of shame) unless when necessary. They could smoke and drink out of self-pity. They want to keep fighting, but their spirits are crushed (hold that silent tear, don’t loose it now). They’re not really weak, they’re lonely; loneliness causes a mental pain.
Distinguishable characteristics between the –eegh (that taste) lies in the eyes. The truth is in the eyes and the eyes can’t lie. Permanently homeless can be called piercing, even cold, unyielding and behind them dwells the evil that they can produce. They will steal and argue and fight for the smallest reasons. They harbor ill toward mankind and usually hid an evil past.
The homeless seek solitude in their environment or maybe associate themselves with usually no more than on of their peers. They’re willing to apologize to avoid a problem, but can be short of patience at times, and will protect their pride regardless of how shallow it may seem. And our capacity to produce, emit and contain love can be overwhelming at times, but again, the eyes tell the story. Usually a vestibule to a lack of awareness. Too many much more pressing worries and thoughts, loneliness, despair and social pressure of injustice.
So if you’re wondering about what you’re considering a low breed: Well, we’re human too, down on our luck of somewhat gone astray, but capable indeed of loving a woman and helping to raise and guide her children in a respectable manner.
So ladies if you’re wondering where Mr. Right could be, or you’re not sitting on the pedestal you should be, look at one of the homeless, claim a prize from the lost and found, one man’s junk it another man’s treasure. Cleveland……will you?
Copyright Homeless Grapevine Summer 1993 Issue 2 Cleveland, Ohio.