I don’t mean to make my blog “depression central” but this video is worth sharing. Not because you will learn something new. It is something you already know well- we don’t really notice homeless people; but it shows us to what extent we have become numb. The homeless somehow have become a part of the background.
I remember the first time I saw a beggar. I must have been around 5 years old, and I clearly recall feeling sick to my stomach how come this lady has nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep, and I so could not understand the refusal of my parents to let her live with us, we did not have that much space, but we could certainly make space for her.
A couple of summers ago I was back in my hometown and I was sitting in a café with friends. Next to us, there was a huge groups of young mothers and their 5 to 10 year-old kids. In Bulgaria (or at least, in my part of Bulgaria), it is a common phenomenon to see young mothers, all dressed up, made up, plastered up with tons of shit on their faces, in the middle of what for normal people is working day, just passing the time by gossiping over coffee together with other similar specimen and their progeny (side note: just because some people can reproduce, it really does not mean that they should!!). But I am digressing. So, there was a middle-aged man, handicapped, going around and asking people for change. He really was not obtrusive or persistent. He was rather humble, ashamed to be asking and disturbing you with his need and his request. To be honest, social benefits in Bulgaria are really pathetic, I admire the survival skills people develop. And you can not help but be sympathetic. Or, so I thought. The man was over at the table with many young mothers, who probably have invested in their hair-cuts more than he has to live on for a week, and who quickly shuffled him off. But then I heard one of the children asking “Mom, what did that man want?”, “He was begging”, “And why did you not give him anything?”, “Because he should go and work, and I don’t have any money to spare”. Right. The fake-tanned, orange glazing, hair-blown brainless bimbo, who probably relies on her equally brainless husband to support her, judges a disabled man for not trying hard enough to find work.
And there we are. It is so easy to develop a thick skin and stop noticing a beggar, or simply an unobtrusive homeless person, and indifference is scary. What is worse, though, is passing this indifference, spreading it around, and infecting others with it. For me those mothers back in the café have failed as parents. OK, this conclusions might have something to do with the way their spoiled brats were in general behaving. But the children are not to blame here.