Eating together, poor, rich, and in between. I ate some hard tack this weekend from a friend.
Give and receive. I've found even the smallest of things like opening a door for someone or letting someone go in front with two things in hand at the supermarket usually gets their heads up from the iPhone or even from looking at their shoes. Oh, and I like to pay tolls at bridges for the person behind me when I have the money. I don't cross bridges much but it's small acts of kindness which are invaluable.
I also feed people asking for money when I have the cash or am willing to go hungry for the night. It's easy to think they are asking for cash for booze or whatever but I've found some who just want to eat. It's fun chowing down on some chicken or a sandwich with someone who is ravenous. My son learns well too. Everyone needs to eat and needs water. If anyone asks me for food I try to get them some.
There used to be a guy who lived on the tracks behind my house and I caught him dumpster diving. So I watched him for a while to make sure he wasn't taking any paperwork out of the trash, but he was pulling out valuable stuff people throw away. I started talking to him and he lost his job, lost his house as a result, and was in and out of living in apartments with his wife.
I didn't invite him and his wife to live with me but every time I saw him I gave him food and he would give me stuff he found if I needed anything. I also gave him gloves. He disappeared a while back and I think it's his bike chained to a pole nearby, maybe he found a place but I always think about cutting the lock and bringing it inside or just think about him or else that bike will be thrashed. But it's amazing what people throw away instead of using it until it dies.
The fact he's not dumpster diving and I haven't seen his wife tells me he found a place to live. But one of the most important things he told me was "I had a house, lost my job, couldn't pay the mortgage, got kicked out, homeless, and I tell that to everyone I meet, that could be them." And he told me sometimes people would treat him like garbage even though he was making better money than they were at one point in time as a software designer. It hits home. It's hard to get a wage slave job with no address.
He dumpster dives for stuff, people even throw away flatscreen TV's and other valuables, and he sells them on eBay. I still have a tube TV and broke or else I would have bought a nice flatscreen that worked from him if I needed one and had the cash. We checked to make sure it worked. But who in the heck would throw away a 50 inch flatscreen which worked fine? I've seen them on the street. But he understands my predicament. Besides, my tv refuses to die, probably because I never use it.
There is another lady who lives nearby who dumpster dives for cans and stuff, and I put mine hidden in some bushes for her (although I mostly drink tap water - yep, know about the flouride) so she doesn't have to dig through the trash cans. She lives where I live and I suppose she's trying to make ends meet and she's very polite. The way I see it is she makes money off what we recycle and we could do the same but it costs more in gas than what to make, or we toss it into the recycle bin which costs us money. So why not? I assume she amasses a large quantity at once.
I keep a close eye on who is dumpster diving and who is casing cars, which is another issue. There was one kid we caught twice. He never came back. If I ever find anyone going through any papers I tell them I called the police and they better hold tight for them to come, but that's only happened once this last five years and they never came back.
I don't actually call the cops as they are useless but the documents go back, I rip them up, and then they scatter. I burn all my documents personally after shredding. If I see a bank statement or utility bill I always rip them to shreds. I can't understand why people throw away the whole envelope.
But people shouldn't have to rely on the govt for handouts. We should help other people in need. I even buy beer for winos when I see them shaking like a leaf if I have the cash. That person could end up dead. When I do that I always refer them to a detox center which they never go to. I know it's postponing the inevitable but it keeps them alive.
I wish I had the cash to hand out blankets, but I don't.
Not trying to toot my own horn, but as my old friend told me "You could be me in a year." I wish he wouldn't waste his money on smokes though.
We need to cherish friends and family alike and break bread and eat and talk to look after our neighborhoods together. I've often forgotten to lock my door and once didn't close it all the way and was wide open when I got home. If someone wants to steal my 300# TV, they can have it. That's the only thing of value I own aside from my computer which is 5 years old.
Anything else is kept in a gun safe offsite.
I'm happy as a wage slave (although taxes suck and should be illegal) but take a look around and see good people struggling. It's sad.
I was talking with a friend (who said he was tired of being poor) about how we would still be making good money except inflation is kicking our behind. I haven't had a raise in 6 years, my rent has gone up more than 30% (more like 40%) since then along with anything I want but costs twice as much for cheap quality. I can't buy anything any more. I don't even own a vehicle. Luckily my boss lets me drive a company vehicle.
My friend wonders why I never shop at Wally world. So we aren't actually economically challenged, inflation is kicking our butts. And I always remind him, we could be homeless. But if we were back at 2007 we would have a bunch of disposable income.
That job might be up for grabs for someone willing to work for less and as in my last job they denied me unemployment (the HR manager bragged about how he was able to always fire an employee or get them to quit so no benefits would be paid) and that could be any one of us. Luckily I have contacts and was able to get a job withing a few days of cold calls.
We live in a sick world which needs to be fixed somehow. A small random act of kindness can help make people feel real good. Like I wrote, open up a door, let the lady with two kids go in front of you, feed someone, and not only will it make you feel good but more often than not it makes other people feel good. And I've found that kindness comes back. We get in our own small universes and often don't think about others. It's time to. If I owned my own business I would try to employ those down on their luck trying to find a job or even veterans as well.
I liked your thread BTW.
I've thought of volunteering at a soup kitchen but I like to spend the time I can with my ilk. It's free good food (which is great) and teaches values so I've been on the fence about it. I always buy a bag or two of groceries at the supermarket to feed people during the holidays, thinking that could be me needing that food, but lots of people forget it's winter, people need food, and the holidays are over.
Sorry for derailing the thread. It's a good one and I also like the Flaming Lips of course. :)
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