A lot of people I grew up with complain about the “new” Seattle, or about the “different” Ballard. In fact, many of them have moved away to the suburbs. But I love the new Seattle. In the 1970s, Seattle was an industrial town. There were a few regional banks, an insurance company or two, and Boeing. It was an awful town to be a young single person in and there certainly weren’t great restaurants. But now? I love Seattle. It is booming, growing, with lots of young professionals moving in. THere are good restaurants, improving transportation, lots of energy. It is, for the first time ever, exciting to be here. The traffic? A bummer, but part of driving in a big city, and I try to work around it best I can. However, with growth comes skyrocketing costs, more inequality as non-professionals are pushed further out so must drive more, and increased homelessness (I don’t mind that they are here, I just wish we as a society would do more to fix the root problem so that people need not be homeless).
Community Lunch serves 50,000 meals per year to anyone. They interviewed some of their regular patrons, but it was so loud under the freeway bridge where they lived that the interviewers had to move the interview to a new location in order to hear. One person became homeless after their husband was murdered. Another was a professional with a college degree. A third hates when people yell “get a job” because he works. A fourth talked about laughing at homeless when he was a teen, never realizing that it would be him some day. They now provide medical and dental care, too. We donated over $500 to the cause although it has been a difficult financial year for us. Next year, we’d like to give $1,000.
I did something I would have thought unthinkable to me 5 years ago – gave a hungry person two protein bars and 10 dollars… He didn’t say thank you, but then again I didn’t do it for the thank you – I did it because he was hungry and few things are worse than hunger…. It has been nearly 5 years since I survived lung disease with a 50 percent mortality rate, and I just can’t get over that awesome feeling of compassion that that experience gave me since before my disease I would have judged (and not helped) that man. Every day I feel grateful that for the first time in my life I understand there are people who will never be in a position to take care of themselves.
Without having experienced the inexplicable chronic fatigue that came (and persists) with my disease, I would have never felt the warmth of compassion. How strange life is. I was given such a wonderful thing by such an awful (and freaky) disease.
Every time I see my lung doctor (pulmonologist), I thank him for saving my life. I should be thanking him for the gift of compassion….
I detest McDonalds and Walmart and ESPN and Boeing and the like. They exploit the masses for profit while poisoning us, which benefits the very top investors at the expense of everyone else. But in reading about the French Revolution, which probably ignited because the people were hungry and desperate, the very things that keep our people down are also the things that keep them from revolting. These companies keep people’s tummies filled with poisonous food, keep them clothed with sweatshop made clothes, keep their minds occupied with cheap entertainment and keep them working long hours at dirt poor wages. In essence, the masses are miserable with little hope of improving, but they are not desperate (hungry, bored, cold) enough. But if our homeless population keeps growing, that might change over time… Please note, I don’t want revolution (god no) but is a little social reform and more equitable distribution of wealth too much to ask? One thing I know for sure, if Trump or Clinton or Cruz and most of the incumbents in Congress are elected, things will get worse…
ZIka virus, a struggling Brazilian economy and other items are dragging down anticipation of Rio Olympics, according to the NYT.
I love the summer Olympics, but in many ways I hope this is the sign that the outlandish spectacle of building huge stadiums etc. when people are hungry/homeless is coming to an end. Every day I walk by countless homeless in our streets in full view of two publicly built/funded massive billion dollar professional sports stadiums with roofs, showers etc. that sit empty the vast majority of the year. Yet we talk about how awful the gladiator days are. It’s hard to stomach sometimes. A more human society would open those stadiums to the 1000s of homeless on cold/rainy nights. And I say this as a sports fan.