Warped Perspectives

It’s a cold, rainy day here in Seattle, and I’m sitting here at work, grateful for the fact that I’m being paid to be someplace warm and dry. Being perched high up in a drawbridge tower, I have the unique opportunity to observe people without them even knowing I’m here. That means I often get to see the best and worst of humanity.

Today, unfortunately, I got to see the very worst.

I looked up just now to see an old, homeless guy pushing a grocery cart down the street. He was skin and bones, and soaking wet, and limping, and you could tell he’d been out there for a long, long time. I felt sorry for him.

He pushed his cart into the bike lane to get out of the way of some joggers. Then this guy came barreling up behind him on what was easily a $500 bicycle, and had to just slightly swerve around the guy. He had plenty of warning that the guy was there, and yet, “Asshole!” the rich biker screamed. And then again, over his shoulder, much louder, “Asshole!”

The homeless guy just came to a dead stop. He stood there in the cold, pouring rain, saying nothing for a minute. Then he continued his resigned trudge down the street.

Was that necessary? Why? Why?

Granted, I have no idea what is going on in rich biker’s life. Maybe his dog just died or something. Maybe he wasn’t hugged enough as a child. But when people display a total and utter lack of compassion and tolerance like that, I can’t even begin to understand them. I’m not sure I even want to.

A friend of mine said he thought it was a test that a higher power put in rich biker’s path to see if he was a worthy human being. Well, that’s one way of looking at it. If so, I think he failed. Miserably.



13 thoughts on “Warped Perspectives

  1. lyn sutton

    I like to think the biker was commenting on himself for his fear that at any instant he could be hit and suffer a disabling brain injury that could leave him as destitute as the homeless man. I also imagine the homeless man pausing to remind himself not to take the words, of someone ignorant of his reality, personally, so he could spend his energies on the more important issues of survival. Besides there’s always karma…

      1. lyn sutton

        And you just have to watch these things being done…imagine having to live with it daily. I spent a year working and living among the homeless and most don’t want pity or tolerance…they need honest empathy, acceptance and common respect. Many grow a thick skin because those things are in such short supply for. A lot of the hand outs they’re given are discarded garbage. I can’t tell you how much of the donated food in the kitchen I worked in was rotten and expired. On the up side there were some donations of new items that made the recipients feel respected and I saw daily acts of kindness between them.

  2. lyn sutton

    I was overwhelmed, at times, but I learned so much about acceptance vs. tolerance, and my own capabilities. It gives me a balanced perspective when dealing with my disabilities and the baggage that comes with them. It was the hardest yet most rewarding experience I’ve put myself through yet.

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