Monday, December 08, 2014

"Alone" people

After awhile you develop a 6th sense that I call "recognition of reality."  For me it kicks in big time when I'm in an observant role and alone myself. 

It happened for me most recently on Sunday as I drove to my favorite breakfast joint by myself.

I saw three people.

The first was an old woman.  She made her way up the broken sidewalk on a walker.  Hers was not an easy trek.  She carried a bag or two of what looked like groceries.  The bags, though necessary,  made her journey even more difficult.  As I watched her, I knew she was alone, I mean all alone.  I have no idea her destination, but I do know (much more than suspect) that the end of her journey last Sunday morning would be an alone place.

Then, there was a homeless man on a bicycle.  Don't ask me how I knew he was homeless, but he was.  All his possessions seemed lashed to the bike, except for the backpack that he wore.  As I watched him navigate the same sidewalk as the woman, I knew again that his destination would involve a different sort of aloneness.  There would be others present, under a bridge or in a shelter, but still he would end this day all alone.

Finally, on that same stretch of sidewalk another man without a place to call home and on foot.  He stepped off the sidewalk to make way for the chap on the bike.  Some small talk exchanged between the two created something just short of a smile.  This final man, loaded down himself, presented a deep sort of almost palpable sadness to me, though he had no idea I was observing. 

Three people alone, in a deep loneliness. 

As I ate my hot breakfast at my favorite hole-in-the-wall café, I wondered why I hadn't invited them all to share a table with me. 

"Alone" can be a nice place to visit, but it seems to me a terrible place to live.

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