My Back Alley
This is my back alley in the morning sunshine.
Many things happen in my back alley, including awesome skateboarding.
This also happens in my back alley:
This is a man and a woman sleeping at one of the church’s back entrances, the one that is 15 feet from my garage. Arlo, Farrah Star and I were in the garage getting on the bike that morning and I have no idea how Arlo missed this scene but I’m glad he did because I am unprepared to explain why two people are sleeping and/or living next to our garage. Why we have a house for our bicycles and Christmas decorations but some people don’t have a house for their bodies.
The idea of volunteering with my kids has been at the forefront of my thinking lately and that morning I saw one thing – an opportunity. But with that couple still sleeping and us morning-rushing I tabled the idea and pedaled away. Upon returning home the couple was gone but for their tiniest belongings.
And now I’m glad I didn’t give them all our protein bars. Is that awful? Everyone’s got to eat. But I am glad I didn’t approach them with the kids. My unpreparedness would have become something else. I am not a stranger to the sleeping dead; I am a veteran of San Francisco’s Tenderloin after all not to mention all those years in New York, gritty underbelly, etc. etc. But what do I tell my kids? How do I explain why people are sleeping in our back alley and more importantly, why we’re not helping them? Why do we help some people but not others? How do we pick and choose to whom to be kind? (“You mean I don’t have to be kind to everyone (eyeballing Farrah)?”)
I leave you with these questions and beseech from you some guidance. I need to prepare a thoughtful response. It’s only getting colder.