"One of the greatest things in human life is the ability to make plans. Even if they never come true - the joy of anticipation is irrevocably yours. That way one can live many more than just one life."

Maria Trapp-The Story of the Trapp Family Singers - Ch. 12 p. 4

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

- St. Augustine

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Miscellaneous Peripatetic Musings by Doug: Garbage People (9May)

New York is fascinating for the sheer variety of people that you encounter (among the many other things). All of humanity seems to present itself for observation. Oddly enough, most of the time I just feel like taking it all in and experiencing it for what it is – just trying to understand the people I see, leaving discernment of character and propriety aside for a time. Many of the things I’ve seen I don’t really know what to make of them.

One example is the people I observed picking through garbage cans looking for treasures that others found no value in. Of course we saw plenty of those folks you expect to be looking through the garbage; those who appear to be homeless and hungry. But what I hadn’t expected was to see people that have no outward appearance of need. In Grand Central Station I saw a man in his thirties, holding a Baldwin Formals garment bag that seemed to have a suit or tux in it, looking around in a trash can as if he was just looking for a snack. Earlier in the day, I saw an Asian couple in their fifties (I only mention their race because I’ve never seen an Asian looking through trash), dressed as middle class as anyone, carefully making a search of a garbage can for several minutes. They did not look like they were looking for something accidentally dropped in the can and lost – but taking great care (the woman having a stick to push things aside while she looked in the can) to find something helpful to them. They talked like a couple in a grocery store discussing which cut of meat to buy, or which variety of rice would be best for the meal they planned.

What about these folks? Are they just well dressed, maybe even proud homeless people? Or, are they actually people who have no need to be rummaging through the trash, but do so from reasons known only to them?
I don’t have any idea what was going on with the people I saw – but I do somehow feel terribly sad for them. Whether they are just the eccentric rich or desperately poor; whether is through no fault of their own or by a lifetime of foolish choices – picking through rubbish is something that I hope all caring Christians desire to have eliminated from the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment