I was walking towards the counter at the local Friendly Grocer when my eye caught the coloured man in the paint smeared blue overall pants begging to my right. As usual my nose wrinkled at the smell of his pungent body odour and I experienced a small feeling of disgust and revulsion. Trying my best to ignore him as he tried begging in my direction I paid and went to sit outside while waiting for my cheeseburger.
From the corner of my eye I saw him being chased out and continued to watch him as he took a seat in front of the laundromat. All the while praying fervently that he would not try to get my attention or ask me for anything more. As I sat in the shade of the umbrella dragging on my cigarette and sipping on my juice I suddenly noticed something. Every person walking past was trying their best to ignore him. Here was a man, a human being, and every person who walked past was doing their utmost to ignore his very existence. It was then that it dawned on me, that I realised how horrible that must be. To be invisible like him.
I sat there thinking about his smelly self and how he should take a shower and put on some deodorant. At the same time a feeling of shame crept over me. For I realised that this poor man probably didn’t have the money to buy deodorant or soap. Probably didn’t have the luxury of taking long bubbly baths or hot showers. As he drunkenly stumbled head first into a pot plant I wondered at the fact that I would probably be drinking too if people blatantly ignored me. Making me a, a . Giving me less compassion than they would an animal.
Yes, the stereotypical beggars are annoying people who want to take our hard-earned money and spend it on booze. They smell and they’re loud. They intrude on our. Still, how cruel are we to treat them as if they were invisible? To turn them into a nothing in our .
It was then that I got up, walked over to him and offered him the better part of my grape juice. That I acknowledged his existence because no-one else did. I wanted to share this story because I think a lot of us respond in the same way. Next time you want to shrug off a beggar, at least offer them the courtesy of responding with a yes, a no or a hello. They are people too.
- Reflections: The Ire of Invisibility… (eof737.wordpress.com)
- if i were invisible (rasslerwritings.wordpress.com)
- The Beggars – Suzhou, China (travelpod.com)
- The Invisible People II (thinkingwomansbrainvomit.wordpress.com)