Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Homeless in Chinatown and Downtown

I was biking around at night all the way down to the harbor and through Chinatown. I noticed some young children and their families wandering around looking at the ocean. Some couples that had the look of opioid users and  some people sleeping. Homeless people that you don't usually see during the day. That is to say, you wouldn't necessarily know they were homeless. Downtown had many younger men who I would guess did have jobs, but with rent so high, having a job doesn't mean you don't sleep on the street, especially during the summer. It just makes more economic sense.

I noticed that downtown was being repaved so that it would eventually look like a Disney version of downtown... which is better than what it has been. There was a fruit stand open.. I mean this was midnight.

There were clubs and bars.. the "Hong Kong" that were hopping and this was Monday night. Who goes to these clubs on a Monday night? I guess downtown was going to be a place for tourism. Soon it would be complete.

It feels like Boston has slowly been taken over by New York. I mean the Times owns the Globe, yeah we have the Red Sox, but the way the neighborhoods are organized and renamed and redeveloped. It feels like money and power came from somewhere else and said, "here's what we're going to do." It could be seen as good or bad. In Downtown's case there was a sinister plot to devalue everything and by it back up dirt cheap and only start developing now... but once it is built up... will the result be better?

It felt pretty safe. I mean these homeless young men did not seem on edge. Considering they were just going to go to sleep outside and unguarded. Other neighborhoods are more on edge in broad day light.

Chinatown was mostly closed (this was midnight) which is interesting because I remember when it used to be so crowded at night that it would take 2 hours just to drive through it. There was a feeling of that old night life.. a bit of it, but not really.

Chinatown.

A young man walked up to me asking me for money for food.

"You want to eat? Let's go eat right now." What the hell I was in a weird mood. Might as well eat together and see what his story was.

He had a bit of a speech impediment and his story changed from asking for money to look for food to looking for the shelter (it was too late to get in. I knew that but didn't feel like telling him) to burying his mother. He had come up here from New York. He started taking of his sweatshirt and told me to feel his bicep to prove that he did not do drugs as well as looking at discharge papers from a mental hospital.

I'm not saying he was lying. But by no fault of his own, he could not exactly explain what he wanted for me to do for him. I think he wanted $20.

I gave him a dollar which hurt his feelings. "Man your just mean." he said to himself.

But bury his mother or no, I wasn't giving him more than $1. If we went to eat somewhere together, that would be different. To be honest I was feeling friendless and was biking around because I had been kicked out. I had considered just leaving town so I saw that perhaps I was not in that much a different position than these other guys. The main difference was I had money (which could easily be taken) and there was the possibility that I was not truly kicked out. After all, as I thought about it, who was going to take Noah to camp tomorrow if not me? Perhaps the decision to kick me out was not thought through.

Wandering around I found that the best place to lie down were these pretty nice chairs they have by the harbor. That way you can sleep, but you don't quite look like you are homeless. What with the bike helmet and all that. You still have that appearance of potentially having money and just hanging out for fun.

I weighed my options and decided to chance heading back.

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