Sunday, December 8, 2013
What I Find on the Corner
I never know what I will see when I am driving. I know that I am in a place where surprises exists on each street corner in major urban areas. However, I don't always expect to see these surprises as I am driving in the western areas of Broward County, typically called a bedroom community by our urban planners.
But as I stopped for a red light on Friday, when I was really in a grand rush to get somewhere, I had no choice but stop and wait for the light to turn green at the corner of University Dr. and Oakland Park Blvd. because there is one of those Red Light Cameras that would welcome the image of my license plate in order to immediately transport the information to the City of Sunrise so that within about five days there would be one of those envelopes in my mailbox, you know the type, fold here and here and here and then tear off those little strips of paper so that you can open up the flaps of paper to find, yes, to find that violation that costs a lot of money. So, yes, I stopped and took a deep breath, turned to my left and saw this person.
Ok, so there are homeless people on every corner in downtown Fort Lauderdale. I am used to that. In fact, I am so oblivious to the vast numbers of homeless people that I don't even pay attention much. Please, don't call me callous, I do feel badly for the newly homeless, the people who really need a helping hand. There are agencies throughout the country that are available to assist these folks. There are social service organizations, faith-based organizations and more. These folks are the ones that want assistance and when the hand is extended the hand is usually accepted. But then there are the folks that are emotionally and mentally incapable of helping themselves or to recognize that help is available and they just aimlessly move through our streets, almost like ghosts in the daylight. I feel for these folks as well, but as soon as they are helped, the vast majority are back on the streets because they have trouble with reality and our social system really doesn't' have a good method of sustaining this type of assistance. But then there are the folks that truly do not want the help. These are folks that I see in the building where I work. I recognize their faces. They just don't want help and they are capable of understanding that there is help. They just choose to continue this lifestyle. I have always said that there are three, and perhaps more, levels of homelessness.
But on Friday, I was sure that this person did not fit into any of these homeless categories. This was someone who had a message to share with the world. So of course, I grabbed my phone, didn't have the DSLR camera at the time, and snapped as many images that I could until the light turned green. I wasn't sure of the quality or if I had even captured what I was seeing.
Not only was he carrying a puppet of some sort so it looked as though he could break out into ventriloquism at any given moment, but also carried this huge sign on his back and an umbrella for shade since it was a typical sunny and hot afternoon in South Florida.
Later in the day when I was showing these to Rachel, we tried to read the sign and make some sense of it. Not sure that there is a point, but nonetheless, I found this to be one of my more interesting characters.