27 July 2007

The Hardest Thing about New York

The hardest thing about living in New York is not the exorbitant cost of living and it's not that it's so hard to meet people and it's not that there are no good men to be found and it's not that it's too easy to get side tracked from doing what you really want. It's the bums. They break my heart on a daily basis. Today when I was eating my $6 salad at Kenmare Square I saw two bums within the enclosure. Well, first I smelled one of them. One was sitting at a table, bent over, but not laying on the table, just sitting in his chair hunched over, I assume napping. The other was sitting by the fence. Eventually he lay down to sleep, nap, whatever. It kills me to see bums. They have nothing, no one, all they do is try to stay alive. Their aloneness is incomprehensible and crushing, like the weight of water 5000 feet under the sea. I want to hug them and tell them that someone cares and take them home and feed them and make them ok. It's nearly always old men. If they have family, the family doesn't care. They have no friends, no home, no one to speak to, no one to lament to, no one to go to for any level of comfort. They are alone in the truest sense of the word. And they are everywhere in New York. How does it come to this?? How does our society let it come to this? Something is very wrong when our kindred are left to live like this.

The book I recently finished, The Possibility of an Island, spoke quite nearly directly on this matter, the matter of old people being left behind. More the matter of the elderly being expendable. It was very Logan's Run, I think. How, after a certain age, people are useless, not worth worrying about. In this book, stories were told about elderly in nursing homes dying in droves due to extreme and willful neglect. Later, in the dystopian future, those of a certain age were forced to fight one another to remain alive within their tribe. A fight to the death. If they can't defend themselves, they should die. This is the sense I get when I look at these weakened older men who are fighting to remain alive, sleeping in the street during the day because what else is there to do when you're old and homeless?

No comments:

Post a Comment