We had been eating at Alewife for lunch in Baltimore, Maryland. Sitting in the window of restaurants in Baltimore is not always the best idea if you want to keep your appetite. My friend and his girlfriend had a clear view of all of the madness and sadness coming down the sidewalk and passing their car.
At one point during our lunch they noticed an old man roll up near their car on an electric scooter/wheelchair. He looked worse for wear, but not much different than the others that had passed by before him. He looked to be in a daze and was slumping over. As people walked by, some would straighten his hat or help him sit up in his chair. For the 30 minutes we sat finishing our lunch, he remained in the same spot, almost directly across the street from our window.
As we left the restaurant, we heard a bunch of locals making noise in the middle of the street. It turned out the old man had died (at the very least, he looked very dead). “That ______ dead!” shouted one local. Another yelled out, “put that shit on Instagram!”
As we got into the car and drove away, I realized why these people were laughing. On one hand, they were probably disturbed by the fact that an old man (who could have been one of their grandfathers) had died out on the streets without anyone immediately noticing. On the other hand, they see so much tragedy and horror on these streets. They can do nothing but try to laugh it off and not give it too much thought. Thinking about and confronting these demons would be too big a battle for one individual. How can we work together to take better care of those in our communities?
"And they hide their faces
And they hide their eyes
‘Cause the city’s dyin’
And they don’t know why
Man it’s hard just to live
Man, it’s hard just to life, just to live”