People watching is the best show on earth...

Dec 16, 2007

Playing Fetch

. Dec 16, 2007


I am exiting the freeway on an off ramp that's always stacked up enough for two traffic light cycles to pass. The exit curves around so that as I wait in line to approach the signal I cannot see the intersection until I round the bend. I am not in a hurry and turn up the Christmas tunes on my stereo. Stevie Nicks' smokey voice is singing "Silent Night". I turn the volume up even louder.

Sunset is beginning and the clouds are pinkish orange against the blue sky. I roll down my tinted window to see them more clearly and the cold bites my nose. I close the window and rev up the heater. Still waiting in the line of cars, I start wondering where everyone is going. I am behind a black SUV with three silhouettes in the back seat bobbing and swaying to music, I presume.

I turn the bend and see a man standing on the island at the traffic light, which has turned red again. He holds a sign that says, "Hungry - PLEASE HELP - god bless." He is black, wears gray sweatpants and a yellow t-shirt with short sleeves and a faded graphic. I think he is barefoot but as I look closer I see he wears flip flops. The car ahead of me rolls to a stop for the light and is now next to the man. There is movement inside the car. The passenger window lowers and an arm sticks out holding a burger or sandwich wrapped in paper. The man puts his sign down and walks toward the food, smiling.

Suddenly the arm yanks downward and lobs the burger high into the air. It lands in the brush, about 20 feet from the off ramp. I hear boys' laughter. The man's smile disappears. The light turns green. The SUV speeds off. A boy yells, "Go fetch, man!" from an open window. The car behind me honks. I am frozen, watching the man who crosses the divider and limps into the brush.

25 Whispers:

PhiRatE said...

Sadness! :( :(

Daisy said...

I did not see that one coming. That was truly heart-wrenching; some people are small.

Vienne said...

Hello Daisy, I didn't see it coming either. In fact, I'd lowered my window in hopes of overhearing what the man might say in thanks for the food. I was simply stunned at what happened next, as I'm sure he was. Or maybe not. I wonder, is callousness like that so much more common than I think? Whatever one's views of homeless are, there's no need to be cruel.

Hi Phirate. Indeed.

Spirit said...

Oh My Gosh!!! That's so horrible. How can people be so inhumane and cruel especially during this time of the year?! Imagine the thoughts going through that poor mans head as he realized he had no choice for food but to stand up there like that and bear himself to the world- and to smile none the less. He is a true and brave soul fallen on hardships and all people can do.... grrr. I hope they get coal shoved up their bums for Christmas.

>Ahem< Pardon the minor outburst but I've lived that life and sometimes the human race disgusts me. Thank you for sharing.

Alycat26 said...

Man that was a hard one to read. People often times don't think about a persons situation and how they could have possibly gotten there before they scream things like "Get a job you lazy bum!" or do disgusting things like what you described.

We used to live in Hawaii and then Northern California and there were a number of homeless people around. I know that my husband made a comment once to me about them that made me angry and I quickly pointed out to him that a few years ago we were in some very bad debt and had we not had help gettng ourselves out of it, things could have eventually spiraled out of control and we could have found ourselves with nothing. He quickly shut up after that. Made him think I guess.

Vienne said...

Spirit, that's a really good recommendation! Sometimes I really do wish Santa Claus was real and would dish out rewards or scoldings at Christmas. I am a Catholic so I can hold dear my belief in judgement day, a beefed up version of what I just said.

AlyCat, I'm glad to know you were helped and find yourselves in a better situation. It's nice you have compassion for others who are struggling.

wildfxp said...

That is simply not humane! I admit I'm racist towards African Americans, but I would never do such a thing.


Jennyjinx said...

Wow. That sucks. I really hate people sometimes.

Karma isn't blind and doesn't forget. That boy will learn that the hard way.

Fabulously Jinxed

BURAOT said...

that was more than just rude. tsk tsk!

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raymondm said...

Man. This is beyond being sad. It just goes to show how much we have "evolved" Karma is one thing, but this just need a full on slap back.


AntiBarbie said...

I think someone peed in those rotten little jerks gene pools. Acting like a schmuck is common for some teenagers who think cruelty is seen as strength. It's so pathetic to those who don't live in that warped mindset.

It really makes me hope Karma gives them a swift kick in the family jewels.

I feel so sorry for that man. I wish I could help him somehow.

Vienne said...

I so look forward to your expressions, Antibarbie. Priceless! I am certain those boys will reap what they've sown at some point. They can't go on with those shenanigans without someone louder and meaner taking notice and serving up spoonfulls of their own medicine sooner or later. Let's hope for sooner.

AntiBarbie said...

You wrote: "I am certain those boys will reap what they've sown at some point. They can't go on with those shenanigans without someone louder and meaner taking notice and serving up spoonfulls of their own medicine sooner or later."

I've seen this in action. Once when I was walking home from Middle School these teenage punks were throwing rocks off of a busy overpass onto the cars below.

One of the cars they hit came barreling up the street in a very expensive looking sports car. The guy jumped out of the car and I swear, he was HUGE. A body builder with arms like tree trunks.

He grabbed one of the boys with one hand and threw him up against the car and was holding him up off of his feet by his shirt, so that he was nose to nose with him, ranting like a madman in a nearly inhumane roar.

This teenager, whom was a well known bully in town, peed himself in front of his friends.

It was priceless.

Vienne said...

Aha! Karma comes through again. Sounds like perhaps this happened before the world became a giant lawsuit? I hope the driver was able to go on his merry way after adjusting the teen's attitude.

deathsweep said...

I hope this makes it, and apologize but 1 word came immediately to my mind........BASTARDS!

Vienne said...

That's putting it mildly, Deathsweep. Grrrr. Bad boys.

Anonymous said...

That is so sad. I wonder what these boy's parents would think of their behavior. I would hope that I've taught mine enough about compassion that they would never find joy in someone else's misfortunes. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful blog.

Vienne said...

My thoughts, too, Patricia. I'm not so far away from reality that I've forgotton what it's like to be an impulsive teen, but this prank goes beyond childhood folly. I hope at least one in the group felt badly about what was done and perhaps pointed it out to the others.

Rachel said...

oh my holy hell.
That's awful.
I was told once that for every bad act it comes back on you 3 times and for every good it comes back on you 7 times.
What a heartbreaking moment for you to witness and that man to endure.
The cruelty of some people is just awful.

Vienne said...

I second that, Rachel. I hope these boys experience something that helps them develop empathy before they get much older. I'd hate to think what kind of bosses, husbands or fathers they'd make with this kind of twisted behavior.

Chica said...

Holy bajeez! I don't know what I feel more, anger towards the people who did that, or sadness for the man fetching the burger... This has inspired me to post something about homeless people. Thank you And you have a cool blog, I may be back if I don't lose your link lol.

Vienne said...

Hello Chica, you're right, it's hard to measure which emotion is worse. I'm going to check out your post and I do hope you'll eavesdrop again! Consider subscribing if you're worried about losing the link ;)

C. R. Morris said...

It boggles my mind that people behave this way. I usually can't handle it. :-(

Anonymous said...

I felt my stomach ache from that one. Such a sad story.


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