Who we really think?
It was a cold Friday, those that happen occasionally in the fall, due to the climatic phenomena consequences, such as “cold front or cold current” abruptly change the climate.
In frosty days it feels good sleep, which turns the simple act of waking up early in a furious battle, though silent, between the body and the mind.
The alarm was scheduled for at 04:50 am, since the idea was to wake up early and go to my traditional morning exercise sessions that make me more “me”. But the cold made me postpone the alarm for five minutes later and after 5 minutes to repeat such feat. So it was, until finally, after three hours, I realized that I was 30 minutes late.
Still dazed of sleep, I jumped outta bed like a true warrior “King Mandume”. I take a shower, dress up and go out to style the flash and in a blink I was in the street.
Disconnected thoughts invade my mind, the tune urban orchestra, composed of sounds of cars, motorcycles, people talking and everything brings me back to reality in flashbacks with unruly intervals. When suddenly a middle-aged beggar sleeping on the sidewalk, stole my attention. And magically, all my urgency gone. Unintentionally or embarrassed, I stopped and noticed the details:
He slept on an old mattress, placed on several cardboards, perhaps to better isolate the moisture from the floor. There was no sheet on the mattress and didn’t give to see, but he was covered with two or three quilts that looked dirty and smelly, but it seemed like it didn’t matter to him. Because he slept like a baby, or as an adult who has the good life.
And then I asked to myself: how a beggar can have a good life?
Barely had time to respond, I found myself possessed by the desire to be him, completely ignoring other known consequences of being a beggar, homeless or roofless. Because all I wanted at that time was a little more time to sleep, if possible, magically like that man, that due to the mishandling of life, did he have a worn appearance.
In my view, he is living a life that is not worth it. But his happy, peaceful and serene sleep was intriguing. It seemed to contradict everything I lived, learned and fought, and still fight and perhaps even continue fighting.
For factory limitations, I’m unable to see me sleeping, but somehow I’m sure I don’t have the peaceful and serene face as the beggar on the sidewalk. Even on my best nights sleep.
And so I found myself comparing myself in a cold and blind way to the beggar. By
education, influences or human nature, I always compare myself to people who were in more favorable conditions than me. But for the first time in my life, I was comparing myself with someone that my logical side recognized as inferior, being homeless. But my emotional side clung that happiness subconscious of the sidewalk beggar. And that told me I was the inferior.
I felt that somehow I was being prejudiced not even unintentionally. #purecontradiction
Confused and over the great whirlwind of emotions and ideas, I began to question my ethics, values (right and wrong) and priorities in a frantic speed and no conclusions. I don’t know how, but suddenly the emotions were organizing. First, came the envy “that is bad.” I want to wake that man and talk to him, to know who he was, his history, experience, fears and dreams and if he felt accomplished. In other words, I wanted to know the happy sleep’s formula, who doesn’t want it?
I realized that envy is the sadness of other people’s happiness, therefore, it’s very harmful. So I refused the negativity that attracts myself with greater force or equal to the force of gravity and when I realized I was dominated by greed, which is the desire to be like the other. Which is often confused with “envy” and misnamed of the white envy #prejudice.
Seconds later, I realized that I didn’t want to be like the sidewalk beggar, but I just wanted to have slept more. Or have slept just for the pleasure of dreaming and not by exhaustion.
That’s when I asked to myself: why I don’t wanna be like the beggar?
As a Ferrari that goes from 0 to 100 KM/H in a split second, my mind was flooded with questions, I found myself wondering what is often perceived as social problems:
I know many people live on the street, they aren’t there for lack of options because there are several who have jobs and good jobs, homes and family, but for reasons of force majeure “traumas, pressures and, or several empty soul” they dropped everything and unblinking surrendered to the streets.
Even knowing this, I didn’t want to be another one, which makes the much-feared unemployment rise and become more a prejudiced social problem.
The message that society gives me is that unemployment is bum.
When the truth isn’t quite that. But I think I need to understand more and better it.
Violence and Criminality
Being black man, I already fight against various forms of violence and criminality that I am target. I imagined myself as beggar and scary as this would increase potential. Would be at the mercy of obscure desires of the perverts and the indifference of “good Samaritans”.
I realized I had never looked well for beggars, even I having already made several acts of charity. I agree with Gabriel, the thinker: “for the rich and the poor, the beggar isn’t people but pollution, with no name, no identity, he isn’t a citizen.”
I remembered of the delay I had in the last call in a private hospital. I also remembered the flood of public hospitals for people with name and address and I wondered how would the beggar condition without identity, get access to medical services. I didn’t go into details, but frivolously concluded that the health of beggars depends almost exclusively on efficiency of antibodies and transcendental forces.
I doubted of all educational systems that I had access because I wasn’t understanding anymore what it was for education, to BE or HAVE?
The question remains unanswered.
I come from a financially poor family or if you prefer the lower middle class but very low. So I was always in the unfavorable side of life “economically speaking”. But after comparison to the beggar from the sidewalk, I felt myself on top of the pyramid, so I didn’t feel more unfavorable. Even making sure that I am one. It was when I realized that the only thing that has changed it’s that I wasn’t bothering to be rich, but not to be poor in the extreme.
I concluded that I didn’t want to be that beggar because when he wakes up, he can not
take a shower, be it slow or fast and long as mine. For even if I don’t have my own home, I am able to rent one and he unfortunately not. The housing problem is complex and turns the streets into a huge bedroom, open to all who can’t a roof, a place to call “their place”.
For most of my life, I was the target of prejudice, and constantly I had to prove my value, almost always required to have good appearance, which basically means being well dressed, with beard and hair within normal — which today I don’t know who defined those. But this time I left the victim to aggressor, though all this have only happened in my head, a monologue between myself and I.
I freaked terribly when I realized that, at all times, I was focused on my navel and that was just to have a selfish vision.
First, I wanted to be the beggar from the sidewalk to have more time to sleep, then I realized that the consequences of being a beggar, homeless, roofless, I focused back on my self and give up the idea and thanked not be him. Well, the beggar’s life is an unimaginable difficulty for those who never lived.
Worst of all is that I realized how my experience of life has shaped me to be selfish and how difficult is not to be.
The society, for several reasons, goes increasingly towards individualism “egotism” and exponentially if unevenly potentiates the “I” here, “I” there, “I” this, “I” that, “I” can or not?
We are a bunch of “I”. And not a synergetic society where I + YOU = US
My question is: Am I the only one who lives this war between You and I?
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Álvaro C. Adriano