For most of America, the early Sunday morning is sleeping, hangover, and church. For me, it's riding to NYC before 9AM to beat traffic, work on various projects on my computer, teach at 1PM, and usually return home mid-afternoon.
Today, I left Trenton at 6.57AM and had a peaceful ride on the turnpike. No traffic, cool weather and enough clouds to cover the usually blinding morning sun.
Got to NYC at 8.08 and got a hair cut at the Astor Place salon, and went to park the bike at Peridance.
I need to buy a book for my speech class, so I decided to check the Strand (Closed, but will open at 9.30AM) and Barbes & Noble (Closed as well, opens at 10AM everyday...). Okay, so I knew Max Brenner would open at 9 and I thought it would be the perfect place to wait for the Strand to open, while enjoying a hot chocolate.
As I wondered Union Square park, and the streets around, I was surprised by the amount of homeless people I saw. At first, it was one guy here, and another there, but as I crossed the park, every other bench had been a 5 stars bed for a homeless.
Further in the walk, I noticed a couple of cops talking to a man, in his underwear (Not the naked cowboy though...), and surrounded by three carts full of highly treasured possessions. A few steps away, another place arranged to accommodate a guy, two girls and a dog...Poor dog!
By now I was not counting anymore, but by memory, I would say that on a four blocks radius, I saw at least 30 homeless people. You might say, how do I know they were homeless? Apart from the filth covering their skin and the untidy hair-dos, large bags on their shoulders, and winter coats used as mattresses, many of them had signs asking for money. "Will do anything for money"...
I almost suggested to work, but they were sleeping so deep, I didn't want to disturb.
All, this, makes me realize even more, that, I might not make millions of dollars yet, but at least I can afford a hot chocolate and a cookie at Max Brenner (Almost $12...).
Is being homeless a choice? How does one become homeless? And to me the most important part, is I get the fact that you may loose your apartment, your job, your lover, but as long as you can walk around and work, I don't see how one would choose to stay homeless. Well, I can pray for them, and hope to never have to experience this.