"You're one of those shelter people"

"You're one of those shelter people"

All I wanted to do was buy a new bed!!

I wasn't asking much for a Sunday. I just wanted to do one thing. I've been looking for a new mattress and box spring for some time. There was a sale on beds at a church in Lincoln Park. You could find them for half the price of a retail store. Plus for each one purchased, a bed would be donated to the homeless shelter down the street. Sounded like a win/win to me. Off to Lincoln Park I went.

I'm about two blocks from the church and one block from the shelter when I see a man cleaning the sidewalk. Good for him trying to keep the neighborhood clean. He picks up an empty pack of cigarettes with a stick and tosses it into the street. I stared at him when he did that. Here's where it got interesting:

Neighbor: "What are you looking at?"
Me: (I kept walking saying nothing.)
Neighbor: "You're one of those shelter people. It's you people that are doing this."
Me (no longer walking): "What do you mean by shelter people? And I don't live there."
Neighbor: "You look like you live there. Look how you're dressed."
Me: (I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt) "You're wearing the same thing except you're shirt has a collar. You think you can tell a homeless person by how they're dressed?"
Neighbor: "Just tell those people...."

At this point I had enough of this conversation and knew what words would end it:
Me: "THOSE PEOPLE! GO FUCK YOURSELF....and oh yeah, if you really cared you wouldn't have thrown the pack on the street."

I was right. It did end the conversation....and I walked away while the dude stared at me with his mouth open.

Not my finest moment but it was 150 degrees outside. I was hot, sweaty and getting cranky...okay I was on the other side of cranky.  I really didn't want to deal with this guys crap.

The funny thing is the folks at the shelter are some of his best neighbors. He probably could have found someone there who was willing to help him clean the street....even in the heat and humidity. All he had to do was ask. Instead, his preconceived ideas and prejudices led him into a confrontation with a stranger.....and a stranger with a forum to write about this. Too bad I didn't get his name.

Really...all I wanted to do was buy a new bed!!


This is another piece in the Faces of Homelessness series. You can find the others by clicking either link.

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