Friday, February 15, 2008

A plethora of people

It still amazes me to encounter the variety of characters that exist in this world. At times I'm saddened by it, other times overjoyed, and in the last couple of days I have just been perplexed. Maybe it helps that many of these perplexing people are out on the streets, but I am amazed at how people survive, how they actually stay alive in the winter streets of Boston (and everywhere else in the world).

A couple nights ago I went for a walk out to the Charles. It was snowing and the atmosphere just felt right for an evening stroll through the powder white streets. It was snowing a little heavier than my ideal conditions, but nonetheless well worth it wandering that evening. During this walk, however, I encountered some of the strangest people I'd ever been near. They were a couple old men, must have been at least 70 each, and they were standing in the doorway of a store, just out of the snow. They looked normal enough, almost what I would picture as the standard fellow in London a hundred years back in terms of garb. But one was snarling, almost like a dog. Just standing there, like a rabid animal, a man of some 70 years. What can I feel about his situation, because I was definitely lost for words. To think that this man has lived to this age, and something in that time has created who he is now. An old man snarling like a dog in the snow in some closed store's doorway. And right behind him another man stood, speaking random things, occasionally singing. After we had passed, I turned back to look at them, and the more sane [?] man was peering out from the doorway, looking quickly back and forth and then withdrawing back to shelter.

Unreal. The other person I was walking with thought that perhaps they were intentionally trying to weird people out. I feel different. Society does not always work for people. People grow up and are molded by their environment. But what happens when their minds fight back against what society is teaching them? Is that what happened to these men? When did people know they would be doomed to such a life? Did their relatives once take care of them and then, upon passing from this life, leave them to their own confused lives? I don't know why the world works the way it does, but it boggles my mind. I can only hope that I maintain my own hold on society. I care about these snarling, confused men, and what does it mean to share or not share their fate?

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