Monday, January 5, 2009
Walk through Purgatory starting at Suburban Station
Step off the train and see people slumped on the benches, waiting. Put today's news in the recycling bin. Take the escalator and see the homeless people gathering on the benches here too, greeting each other after a long night. First pass the blind woman with the dog, singing spirituals and holding a plastic jug for the money. Then see the man who strums his guitar and sings in a sweet tenor but stops and curses you when you don't put money in his guitar case. Next there's a woman who's well dressed in full make-up with an oxygen tank who asks you to share some change, not spare some. There's the lanky man who plays the accordian. Step on the escalator and listen to the woman who's laughing and coughing and talking all at once. To no one. Keep walking, keep walking and you'll see a man who sits against the wall with no legs. A woman who starts the week looking almost normal but who slides down by the end of the week, the dirt deep in her skin, her hair wild, her lips slack. At 15th and Sansom there are two people asleep, spooning surrounded by piles of bags, looking like angels. Turn left on Walnut and pass the Rite Aid. There's a man in a wheelchair with no legs who still looks surprised that his limbs are gone. One more man staggers around the front of Williams Sonoma asking for change. They'll all be there tomorrow and so will you.