“Do you have 50 cents you could spare this afternoon?” “Yeah, sure… You hanging in there alright?” I gave him all my change, 8 cents, and one dollar more. “Thank you. Yeah, I am.” The man wearing a dirty hoodie in the dry heat walked off, looking disbelieved over money. Life in “The Story” isn’t easier than our own. John (left) had periods of teenage homelessness before being “adopted” into Trishna’s (right) life. Can we adopt everyone?
Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (worldbuilding, rant piece)
Of course not.
John was lucky to make it out of poverty. The area where he grew up had a terrible economy, perhaps because of a failed industry, or maybe declining resources? Even though the greater Eville area has more opportunity, it’s still not a paradise, especially for the maligned or outcast. There isn’t a guarantee of a good life. Even if you work hard toward getting a job, life in Eville isn’t going to immediately work out, it’s just there are higher chances of it working out than in John’s hometown.
Why has their government – analogous to our own – let this happen?
My theory is that there is no socially profitable answer to homelessness. One former professional I once met said ‘screw it’ to the stresses of employment and another had to sleep in his car after moving to the area because he couldn’t find anything better. Both were good people. Perhaps their contributions to society were so insignificant to the government that their perceived value could not justify reallocation of resources to pick them back up and place them into good housing or employment situations?
Of course, there are many layers of nuance.
Trishna had never seen homelessness in her hometown. It’s only when they go to college in the city that they face it directly. Homelessness is such an issue in Eville that they can’t go a week around town without encountering someone that asks for money, is sleeping on the streets, or the remnants of someone that was down on their luck. Maybe it’s the lingering stench of urine, cardboard “mattresses,” or scattered trash tucked away in some forgotten corner. While saddening for Trishna, it’s actually disturbing to John.
He’s been the one to shelter away from an unforgiving society.
While there are more options available to people down on their luck in the city of Eville, this is also a more visible issue. Seeing signs written by people asking for help bring back vivid memories of hiding away in forests, grabbing discarded food in the dumpsters of businesses, or sleeping outside overnight after an argument with foster parents. John might be more likely to want to volunteer at soup kitchens, give money to certain people, or probably be more direct, both good and bad, with the people he encounters.
This is a nuanced topic.
I’m not sure how much effort John or Trishna will spend to rally for the rights of people impoverished or down on their luck.
Maybe more than the average?
|Quotes:  Man.  Me.|
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: The interaction that introduced the essay was a start, along with seeing a malnourished kid on the bus that just looked like he had a hard life, and the unpredictable person in the bus terminal that is more of the norm. We shy away from these people. Why? Is it shameful? Inconvenient?|
|Related: Essays building “The Story.”|
Above: Finding this sign inspired the title and some word choice.
Below: The spot where I had the introductory interaction and wrote the introduction.
|Written On: May 23rd, 26th|
|Last Edited: May 26th|