Tuesday Thoughts

Most of the people I knew in China had known hunger. It was such a close reality for China for all of its history that the friendly greeting wasn’t “Ni Hao?” (You good?) it was “Have you eaten?” Even in 1982 when things had improved since both the famine the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, meat was used as a spice far more often than as the central part of a meal.

The other day, driving down the highway toward my friend’s house, I saw two very tattered, very ragged, very dirty, homeless people walking along the road. Neither looked sad, so there’s that. I think often of the close call of 2020. If I had still be in California and working, I might very well have ended up homeless. It’s hard to say. I could have decided to sell the house (and prices were good) and come here, just like I did in 2014, but maybe I wouldn’t have had that chance. I don’t know. Maybe because I taught so many online classes I would have sheltered behind my laptop during the worst of the year. That Wheel of Fortune again.

We’re comparatively lucky in this country, or have been for quite a while now. We’re kind of weird and entitled. I think that’s a problem. We don’t have a “right” to half the stuff we claim to have a right to and we don’t have — some of us don’t have — respect for those things we all have a right to. Life. Even the avocet mom and dad yesterday in front of my car were fighting for that right for themselves and their chicks. I don’t know if I killed any of the chicks, and I am afraid I might have.

That whole event has made me consider my place in THAT place and awakened me to an obliviousness I was, uh, oblivious to. Somehow, in my mind, it had become a place that existed FOR me. Humans do that all the time. It is not there for me. I’m a trespasser.

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats

18 thoughts on “Tuesday Thoughts

  1. It is strange, but I have noticed that a lot of the homeless here in my town are asking for money or ‘anything helps.’ Woman yesterday had a sign saying she needed money to get to Texas. She had also been in the Navy.

    • In Alamosa, too. I gave money to a man who said he was from Romania but was clearly an Arab of some kind. He was playing a violin for tips and had his little girl with him. I’m sure he was on the move. I gave him $5 There are some “regulars” and I give them dog food for their dogs. Never money. I learned the hard way from my bro…

  2. I love your thoughts, MAK. 💛There’s a man, late 20’s, who walks everyday to the Main Street cafe up the road to work. I’ve been here a 1 1/2 and he’s still walking. He’s dropped about 20 lbs and waves at me every time I see him. In the spring he and I left the Dollar store together and I handed him a $20. I told him that I always tipped the young waitress but HE really deserves the tip for walking every day and doing dishes. He said, “It’s good for me.” I replied, “You’re good for this world.” I’ve spent years being uncomfortable. We really hang our hats on comfort here. Oppressive? Not many of us truly understand that. I told him if he ever lost his job or his home I could help him redirect as much as possible. I’m out tourist town I carry bottles of water and gloves to give out in winter. It seems most are accepting of the water, even if they look a bit surprised. Finn and I on TWO good days. We lovveeee you. 💛🐾🤗

    • 🐾🐾❤️ TWO good days is GREAT!!!

      Back in the day when I had my depressive crisis, a homeless guy gave me $2 for a cup of coffee. It’s a longer story than that, but… He wandered the streets of one of San Diego’s neighborhoods with his border collie. “Here,” he said, “buy a cup of coffee. I’ve wanted to give you that for a long time.” And then he took off whistling. I think it was obvious to him what had happened to me and what I was dealing with. I was sitting outside a coffee house drawing pictures and drinking coffee — more long story. We are a LOT more fragile than we realize a lot of the time. Big and gentle hugs to you and Finn

  3. I have deep concerns for China. According to their 2020 census data, the population will decrease by 50% sometime between 2050 and 2100. People aren’t having babies anymore and the population balance will shift to the elderly. There’s about a 10% imbalance between young males and females. That isn’t a viable society.

    There is a concern that people who feel grateful for what they have stop wanting more. On the one hand, that’s the end of the consumer-based economy. On the other, it means the poor and oppressed might stop fighting their oppression so much. I don’t see the right or the left pushing gratitude for what one has.

    • I don’t know the answer to any of these. During the one child policy in China the Chinese did whatever they could to have a boy child including killing girl babies. So… Lots of adoption of girl babies to foreigners. I don’t much care what happens in China any more. They will figure it out as soon as they realize that one man can’t run the country, but in the meantime in a general sense life is better for most Chinese than it has ever been.

      Gratitude would wreck the consumer economy. People would be happy where they are. They’d repair their jeans. They’d buy used furniture. It would be like what people call “a simpler time” which wasn’t simpler at all, but whatever. Right now I’m despairing of humanity because it’s just so fucking stupid.

  4. Entitlement also seems rampant in my kids’ generation – the privileged sector of course. It’s concerning and makes me sad, but I wonder how much we (us parents) contributed over the years. Gratitude may be there but it doesn’t seem to be visible. There should be a balance.

  5. I love that you are so self aware that you recognize that you’ve been oblivious. Right now our homeless population has expanded. They seem to be migratory moving south when it starts to get cold here…

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