lightning flashes again... and again...we were approaching austin sunday night during the lightning storm. my heavens! we had dropped off the critter at my sister's house in kyle to spend the night, and were on our way to see mice parade at emo's. as we hit the city limits, we could see the lightning in panorama, literally covering the horizon and maintain a high tempo.
it wasn't till i saw the first flash to the right, and not to the front, that i realized.... "oh. we're driving into that. right."
by slaughter we could feel the hair on the backs of our necks standing up. my teeth were vibrating. and there were bolts showering down all around us. the rain got too thick to see much of anything by riverside, so we pulled over and parked in front of somebody's house. we made out until she came out on her porch to see what the storm was doing.
when we got downtown, it was virtually vacated. we had an hour to kill, and were hungry. it was still raining pretty hard, but it was warm. we just let ourselves get soaked it felt so nice. as we walked up sixth, though, i thought to myself "wow. there are a lot of homeless people out tonight." and then, like lightning, it hit me. there weren't more than usual, it's just that EVERYONE ELSE HAD LEFT DOWNTOWN AND GONE HOME. i have never had a more visceral understand of homelessness than i did seeing those neighbors huddle under awnings, tear neck holes in garbage bags, and set their teeth against the weather. i imagined what it had been like for them while the full rage of the storm had been about them. i was in a comfortable toyota with my kind husband keeping the vehicle steady. they were subject to the full force of those strikes. did anyone get hit? they are abused, whored out, living in their own vomit, addicted to whatever gets them through a night on a bench, untreated, unrecognized, dispossessed, and they are our NEIGHBORS. they are not hoarding resources which could be ours. i could have given them my huge comfy yellow raincoat and they probably would have given it away as soon as it stopped raining.
i am scared of them. i am even more scared of the ones who are not white than the ones who are. what did i do with those people? nothing. nothing except grok that they are people. but i resolve that something will be done. it must, right?
awe and anguish. these are days on earth.
posted by hobbledog @ 9:32 AM