There is a homeless man who sits on the sidewalks near my house. In the morning he can be found by the empty Brewster's Drug Store on Magnolia Ave. Later in the morning, he moves around the corner to the side of O'Reilly's Auto Supply facing Jurupa Avenue. During the day, I have seen him using the restroom at Ralph's Grocery Store or Carl's Hamburgers. He is always friendly. Loves to talk to the dogs when I'm out walking them. Later in the day, he is over by the Star Donut Shop on Elizabeth Ave at the corner of Magnolia. I see him there until the early evening. Then he disappears. I have no idea where he sleeps.
Lately I have found myself avoiding hiim, taking different routes on our morning walk just so I don't have to interact. Acutally, I try to avoid all the homeless folk who can be found on the main streets near my house. Most are harmless. A few ask for money. I never carry my wallet with me, so I am honest when I say I have no money on me. But most just tell me how cute the dogs are and tell me to have a good day. And yet I feel uncomfortable when I pass them. Why?
I am thinking this is because they challenge my sense of security. They shouldn't be hanging out on the streets. There is no security in that. They should accept the help that is out there. Riverside has programs for these people, but the ones who are "hardcore" street people don't choose to take advantage of it. They appear to choose the life they live on the street. There is a strange security in that for them. They know pretty much what to expect from day to day. That man has his routine and it doesn't change much. It has been that way for him for at least five years, ever since I began my morning walk routine.
I don't think I could survive a life on the streets. For one thing I am too attached to my creature comforts. A nice house, a warm bed, food in the fridge, and so on. But I also know it could all disappear tommorrow. One unfortunate incident and all this ersatz security could vanish. Every day I write in my morning pages how very blessed I feel and how grateful I am for the blessings. It is almost as if I am reciting a charm or knocking on wood. Security is an illusion. It is all borrowed.
Today I will meditate on security, on how I must give it up to find it. No, I probably will not sell the house and pick up my blanket to walk the streets. Maybe this morning I will not avoid that man on Magnolia Ave. The dogs like him. He seems like a good guy, secure, too. What is real security? I guess it really is something you have to give up in order to have it.
Updates: already today I have resisted and conquered procrastination by getting up, feeding the dogs and cat, doing my morning pages and the above blog! Great start. I might have fallen back into comparing myself to that man on the streets near my house, but not really. I think rather, I may have honestly looked at myself and learned something. That's always a good thing. And that does come with comparing and contrasting.