My trip out to spend some time with the less fortunate went about 0% according to plan. I have this preconceived notion that when I go out I’ll find some homeless male in his 40s and we’ll walk to a decent restaurant(red robin level). Along the way we’ll talk about our respective lives, have a meal that lasts sixty minutes, and then we’ll part ways. That’s the scenario that goes through my head as I walk out the door, and it’s typical to deviate from that a little bit. Normally one or two elements will be missing, either there will be a language barrier, the guy will be younger, or it’ll be a woman or women. This time however, none of that happened. I can’t think of any other words to describe it better than weird.
First of all, there were a lot of people out today. I saw two sets of people at two different intersections where I haven’t seen them before. Sometimes I’ve had to drive through 4-5 miles of traffic lights before I find somebody that I can take to lunch. One of these was within a mile of my house, the other was about 2 miles out.
Second, the first two people left before I could go talk to them. I saw them, pulled into a parking lot, and walked out to meet them, but the lights were not good to me, and by the time I got across they had left. I briefly considered following them to talk to them, but that seemed super creepy to me. So I shrugged it off and got back in my car.
A few minutes later at an intersection not very far away, I see two more people, both ladies. One of them is old(I think she turned out to be in her eighties), and one of them looks closer to my age. There’s two people in need, no way both of them are going to turn down something right? Turns out they both ate before I came and refused food(although one lady did take a hot chocolate). I walk out to the first lady, and she turns me down, but we then have an hour long conversation. It was one of the(as the title of the post suggests), weirdest conversations she’d ever had.
She was a friendly lady, and had led a….rather…interesting life. During our hour long conversation I figured out the following: She’s had multiple invasive surgeries to remove internal parts of her body(stomach, back, maybe liver, teeth). She lost her dad when she was 14. She has lost three of her sons, one of whom she thought was my age. She lost her two parakeets recently(she wasn’t homeless by the way, just had trouble paying bills). She has 1 cat, but feeds seven. She was a recently converted Mormon. When she converted her best friend said he’d never speak to her again(but now he doesn’t remember saying that). Her best friend has been ‘in love with her’ since the seventies. She says he ‘loves him too’, but doesn’t really. She just feels she has to say that. And some most unpleasant details about her medical life, and the deaths of her son. This list was in no particular order because I wanted the reader to feel the same sensation of a rapid onrush of that I did when talking to her.
Sidenote, she told me I would be so happy when I finally found the right girl. 3 out of my four encounters have had this conversation. I don’t know how it keeps coming up. I don’t mention girls. I don’t talk about relationships. They usually ask if I’m with someone, but this lady just started telling me I was going to find someone amazing without any prior relationship talk. I’m not sure what to make of this. I think it could mean I come off as relationship material, or maybe desperate. I’m going to choose to believe it’s relationship material.
Second sidenote, poor people are generous. While we were talking a man gave her a few dollars. This man had one of the most beat up cars I had seen pull up to the intersection. On top of that the first lady gave me a dollar to give to the second lady. Kind of touching to think that the people who have the least give the most.
Now, about the second lady, she also had a history. During our conversation I found out the following: she doesn’t have any teeth either. Her roommate helped some people break into her apartment to steal her money and pain medication. She was recently released from the hospital. She was in the hospital because she had blood clots in her lungs (which made it even harder for her to be out in below freezing temperatures collecting money). Her land lord was semi-illegally kicking her out(details about eviction law that I have not verified personally). Someone she knew tried to frame her for a drug deal. And I think there may have been something about the other lady at the intersection, but I’m not sure.
So, needless to say, there was not the normal feel good after glow after this one. I kind of just want to curl up and watch Disney movies for a few hours. Yet, I’m still very glad that I went. I think both of these ladies needed to talk about their experiences, and just feel some human companionship for a little while. It may have been very strange, but I think it may have been necessary as well.
I know this thing whole has probably seemed disjointed, jumped around a bit, and just genuinely chaotic. If it felt that way, it was intentional. Because that’s absolutely how it felt.
To end this on a positive note, my problems seem pretty laughable right now. I feel pretty good about where I’m at in life, after hearing about all of these horrible problems. I feel like I’ve got it pretty solid right now.
As always, I’d love to hear about the experiences you guys have had with the less fortunate. I’ll read them as soon as I can. Right now, I’m gonna go watch Disney movies.