Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Labor" Day

This labor day weekend my husband and I plan to take a break from laboring so much. That's right, 4 days of no working, no childcaring, no cooking, no cleaning. Nothing but eating, sleeping (in past 6am!) and whatever the heck we want to do. We leave tomorrow immediately after I get out of class, drive to Mobile, AL, set sail on our ship and cruise to Cozumel, Mexico.

It's amazing to think how before I had a) a full time job and b)a child, that I was ever "busy." I'm sure once I have this second bundle of joy I will wonder how I ever thought I was busy with just one child. There just aren't enough hours in the day. The prospect of 4 days of indulgence is a dream come true. I think everyone needs that every once in a while.

I need to move to another topic, so this post may be random. This weekend I watched the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" for the umpteenth time. I've always really liked this movie, but I don't know if it's working with the homeless daily or becoming a parent that really made the film pull my emotional triggers. Maybe a combination of the two combined with pregnancy hormones.
Now, the man in the movie is kind of "situationally homeless" rather than chronically homeless and does not, in my opinion, accurately depict the "face of homelessness." That kind of film probably wouldn't sell as well. But there are some homeless people out there, like Mr. Gardner in the movie, that are REALLY trying.
There are some that aren't bumming around, drinking, smoking dope or looking for a handout. I really feel for these people. (Not that I don't feel for the others.") There are just some people I see that no matter how hard they try, they keep getting pushed back down. It's inspiring to me to watch them get back up time after time. How long would it take for me to give up? What if I grew up in poverty? We're really not all that different.
The culture of homelessness, aka street life, just baffles me. Sometimes it seems like some of them don't even want out. It's like a man who has been in prison for 20 years and is scared to return to society with responsibilities, real relationships and such. I think some people become so accustomed to "street life", perhaps the drugs and promiscuity, that they could hardly imagine life any other way. Is this possible?
My husband and I have a great desire to disappear and become homeless for a month. Even though I know a lot about homelessness, I've never been there and I don't know every challenge and danger that lurks on the street. I don't know what it's like not to have a dime to my name, or not to know where I will sleep that night. I can empathize, but I cannot fully understand. If I were caught in that situation long enough, would I turn to drugs to make me forget for a little bit? Would I become wrapped up in the addiction? Would I hate staying at a shelter so much I went to the streets? Would I ever resort to begging for money? Would I let my pride get in the way of getting the help I needed? Would I become mentally ill?

Would I....?