Lost Perspective

compass

Lifestyle

In working with people who spend the night on the streets or in a shelter and depend on food stamps and vouchers, it is easy to lose perspective. In fact, I may be writing from a lost perspective now.

I am in a world in which cigarettes hold more value than milk and employment is menial and miserable.  The kids are frequently reported for bruises and bed bugs.  There are no healthy relationships, it’s use or be used.  A survival of not the fittest, but the most street smart, the most savage and aware of the systems from which they must either decide to manipulate or leave for the unknown.

Those who stay breed the next generation who are certain to take up their parents’ torch.

It’s a dark realm, almost like an alternate reality that is better kept a secret, in the underground, or for movie settings from which an impoverished savant is able to rise from dregs of society to that of the rich and famous.

Only in that case, the fictional or the legendary-once- in a lifetime situation, is it an interesting place and the desperation is palatable for the rest of the world, knowing that there is a light to shine from the darkness, a ray of hope for those who have nothing other than plastic bag of raggedy clothes and a headful of lice.

The lost perspective.

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FYI: Sweet, delicious and delicate cookies, called macaroons, do not travel in a suitcase on an airplane very well.

I suspected that one or two might be cracked or bruised from their hour and forty minute flight, but felt hopeful that a few would come through unscathed. I am working on maintaining a glass is half-full mindset.

However, as I watched the neon-yellow vested workers move the bags and suitcases from the luggage cart, I knew with absolute certainty the cookies would be more than merely bruised.

The madmen threw the baggage with all of their might onto the conveyor belt. I saw them heave each piece into the air and cringed at the thud of the forceful impact as the bags hit. Bottles of lotion exploded and hair spray detonated, and toothpaste oozed out, punctured by an errant nail file; I imagined the chaos with my X-ray vision. Woe to the fool who packed a precious framed photo wrapped in a sweater or brought along a favorite cologne, the glass would surely shatter into a million pieces and a wonderful fragrance would seep from an otherwise odorless bag.

My husband sat next to me in disbelief at the abuse of the luggage. Bag after bag endured the same treatment. We watched wordlessly until a green bag, similar to my own, passed through the hands of the men.

“Bye-bye macaroons,” my stoic partner commented sadly.

Unpacking later that day held no surprises, the contents of our suitcases were both well shaken and stirred. I rummaged through the clothes and pushed a pair of shoes to the side to extract a crumpled bag. Inside of the bag were two crushed, plastic boxes holding the hopelessly crumbled and unrecognizable remains of the macaroons.

Macaroons seemed like the most obvious souvenirs to bring back from our nation’s capital, at the time.

Now, I’m wondering, with only crumbs to show for our travels, if we should have gone with the matching t-shirts of the upcoming Papal visit?  Once again, hindsight is 20/20.

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