santa went up last week in yorkville. my retail job at swiss chocolate shop finished christmas decoration about two weeks ago. tis the time of giving, we say, and we see it all over, with glistening lights and sparkles. christmas adverts are out on telly and some are quite touching.
last saturday, as i had 20 min to spare to my planned journey, i decided to get a quick snack at the eaton centre's foodcourt, then walk through the underground PATH to get to TSO, noseda, bollani show- my favourite, ravel g major piano concerto was on the program and i was certain that it would be spectacular (and it was!)
i forgot that it's christmas time. the mall was heaving with people, with bags everywhere, families in tow, lots and lots and LOTS of stress. get gifts, get stressed! how did i miss that slogan.
i took a seat at the communal long table and as i slurp my sustenance served in real china bowl and real spoon and fork, i started to people watch.
there were a few very happy looking people. and a few really unhappy people. lots of people looking totally confused (which shop? where to sit? how much? here? there? what? why? how?). some getting nearly slapped on faces with food trays and shopping bags. it's quite hilarious.
then i realized there's that one homeless man, eating up leftover food on the tables. fairly clean, but the wear and tear on his hands and faces- the weather burns, rough skins, the deep lines on his face from days on the street, marked him quite clearly. though, he was so ninja quiet.
then he sat near me on the long table for some leftover chinese. i thought i shouldnt stare, so i changed my view and started to watch bickering young couple (high school), about how much money they should spend on new cell phone plan.
then came a indignant proclamation:
'he shouldnt be here!'
i looked up, there was a man, with his woman (wife? gf? partner?) and two children. they mustve been initially looking for a place to sit. he was speaking LOUDLY toward the homeless man.
'hey, what's the problem,' i had to ask.
'he isnt a customer. he is a homeless. he shouldnt be here.'
everyone ignored or pretended to ignore this angry man. i have no idea why he was so angry. but before i knew, i was speaking. oh monkey. please shut up.
'he is not bothering anyone, did he ask you for something'
'no, but it's wrong for him to be here.'
'because he isnt going to buy anything.'
*so i lost it.
'look, emptyhanded cheapskate. he's not NOT allowed in public space, he hasnt bothered you. you are bothering him.'
'ooh fine, im gonna get the guard.'
'go ahead. i will make sure he will have something purchased. im not gonna say what i think, because youve got kids with you. just go.'
he left, angrily. red faced. huffing. woman and kids followed him, uncertain.
the homeless man, who was quietly eating, finished the plate and moved away without acknowledging the fiasco. me, believing that was the best outcome, finished my snack, put the tray away and left.
it was an exchange less than a minute long. im still thinking about it.
i dont think what i did is anything special. however, i do think it was necessary. if one can stand up for another who has done nothing wrong/suffer needlessly/treated unfairly, one should stand up, for the sole reason that no person should be abused for where they are in life.
who they are- for instance, may matter a bit more, ex. extreme violent christians, indoctrinating despots, etc., but where they are in life- rich, poor, tall, short, big, small, old, young- should not be a reason where we all close our eyes and pretend we dont hear anything that is WRONG.
standing rock, aleppo, black lives matter, drowning/non-drowning migrants/refugees, homeless people, LGBTQ, handicapped, woman, children, vulnerable white men (yes, they do exist, not all white men are powerful and previleged), old and infirm.
to ignore them is to forfeit the spirit of christmas, in religious (jesus!) and secular context (victorian industrial era and its brutal treatment of working class and below). tis not wrong and tis not hard to stand up for the others. but it does take an effort.
'liking' and 'sharing' takes no effort. it's as if you can hardly do any less.
i wonder how i can motive self further so that i actually do 'like' and 'share' with others.
with sudden weather change, i wondered today, where the dude may be getting his dinner tonight.