I was crossing the street on Granville and Robson after class a while ago. Before I made it to the other side of the street, I saw a homeless girl sitting on the corner I was approaching, directly facing the sidewalk. I was immediately convinced of two things: one, the girl was definitely close to my age and two, I didnt want to make eye contact with her. As I crossed all I could think was, “don’t look her way, don’t make eye contact, she’s gonna bug me for some money.” Because I was the only person crossing the street at that moment I knew she would at the very least notice me coming her way. She would also notice that I was blatantly ignoring her. I suceeded in making it across the street without even glancing in her direction. The second I passed her, I literally felt my stomach clench from guilt, discomfort, and even embarassment. I wasn’t embarrased for myself, oh no, I had the audacity to be embarrased for her. You see, I was convinced I was better than her and that she deserved to be pitied.
I continued walking without looking back and by the time I had made it to the next block, I had conjured a mental image of myself in her shoes. Along with the mental picture I imagined all the emotions I would feel were I in her position. How hurt would I be if someone didn’t even consider me worthy of eye contact? I was extremely upset with myself. What was wrong with me? Since when do I not even have the decency to acknowlegdge another human being?, I wondered. I didn’t even know for a fact whether or not that girl would have asked me for change. For all I knew, that girl was my age and she could have been a fellow college student if her circumstances had been different, for all I knew she has dreams and aspirations for a brighter future just as I do, she would like to be successful and happy just as I do. As my dad would say, “somewhere, society failed her” and I felt as if I had failed her as well along with the rest of society.
By some random act of fate, when I got home I stumbled upon this video from Current. At the very beginning of the clip, I once again made an immediate judgment and thought Zeta man, the interviewee, was a total wacko who had some kind of bizarro childhood-superhero-fantasy complex. And once again, I was wrong. I judged too soon. In actuality these two men deserve at teh very least acknowledgment, respect and accolade. As Agent Null said, “At least we’re trying, at least we’re out these, and that’s more than most people can say.” It definitely is more that I can say.