I came across this photo on the CBC’s site, linked to the photo, and I could not stop looking at it — the irony grabbed me with a firm hand and wouldn’t let go. This homeless soul, seeking heat from a metal grate in the middle of an ugly storm…right in front of the (privately owned and financed) Princess of Wales theatre, mere steps from the Skydome and CN Tower. It is the epitome of sadness to me and, I believe, makes an inauspicious statement about the condition of humankind.
I do not see the world through rose-colored glasses. I never have. I know homelessness is an ever-present and growing problem, right across this country and others. But no one chooses this life.
Who is this person? Someone’s son or daughter? Someone’s father or mother? According to statistics, they are just as likely to be university educated with an impressive resume as a “bum” or a drug addict — someone who, by some cruel twist of fate or some unfortunate set of circumstances, has been knocked on their butts.
My older daughter recently attended a sold-out Ozzy Osbourne concert in Halifax. She and five of her friends bought tickets as soon as they went on sale, and one of the group of six didn’t show. They knew they’d have no trouble selling the ticket just outside the Metro Centre doors to any one of the hopeful fans who didn’t get a ticket. But instead, they handed it to a homeless person. She said that he looked at them incredulously for a moment, and then took off running. I’m sure the concert was the farthest thing from his mind on a cold night — I’m also sure that the proceeds from the ticket probably fed him for days…perhaps provided a night in a warm bed. Kudos to my daughter and her friends.
Can you imagine sleeping on a metal grate in the middle of a huge city to keep from freezing to death? No, seriously…can you? I can’t. I’m sure I don’t know what the solution is. It just shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be allowed to be.
This picture so reminds me of lyrics from The Beatles’ ‘Strawberry Fields’…
Living is easy with eyes closed,
Misunderstanding all you see;
It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out.
It doesn’t matter much to me.
It doesn’t matter enough, to most of us.