Saturday, March 31, 2012

The hero never came

It’s becoming a pretty unremarkable sight to see people suffering from homelessness in Toronto. So it wasn’t a surprise to see a homeless man laid down on the empty seats on a subway train. One of the cleaning crew members yelled out to the man, “this is not a hotel; you can’t sleep on the train.” It was harsh but I see his point, empty seats are valuable especially on a crowded subway train. Anyways, nothing was going to stop the man from sleeping on the train; I suppose anyone who is homeless and hasn’t showered or eaten for days must be living in their own world with very little care about manners or social etiquettes.

I examined his face more closely, he looked aged from homelessness and crushing poverty but aside from that and the bushy grey beards, i could tell he was otherwise a young looking man . I had the sudden urge to bring him home and give him a nice warm bath and a clean razor.

I imagined myself sleeping on a train. It’s not a farfetched idea. I have no savings and I have credit card debts that can take years to be paid off. On top of that, I just lost my job. The future job prospect isn’t good either. Thankfully, I have a mom who works everyday to pay for the rent and bills, so we don’t have to sleep on the subway. The man sleeping across me must not have a mother or anyone to rely on. I can’t help but wonder what would happen to me if I didn’t have anyone who loves me enough to make sure I have a roof over my head every night. I will never understand why anybody has to suffer the fate of homelessness and loneliness.

Nobody on the train said anything to the man. The outside world must seem like the most inhumane and ugly place to those living on the street. Could this man be the foreshadowing of what will become of me? I lamented at the lack of sanctuary in our indifferent world. I was waiting for a hero or a daring soul to suddenly stand up and condemn the transit passengers for failing to care about another fellow human being. Of course, no such thing happened. This is Toronto the Cold after all. I was no better; I got off the train just as expected. (Okay, to be fair, Toronto apparently has first class soup kitchens for the needy, at least according to writer Steven Boone)

We have a reached a new millenium; the dramatic increase in internet accessbility, along with free Wi Fi spots, and relatively cheap smart phones allow humans to be more informed and more connected to each other than ever imagined possible. However, our state of nature is still persistently and stubbornly indifferent to personal sufferings. Maybe there's an app for changing that?

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