Ooh child, things are gonna get easier

I didn’t sleep very well last night and I thought about getting up to write a post (I’m more pensive at night). But instead, I popped a sleeping pill and fell asleep at some point. I feel a bit groggy right now– not sure if that’s related to the pill (it’s homeopathic so I’m hoping not) and how much of the heaviness I feel just in the pit of my being.

I think some of it comes with it being a short week because Monday was a holiday. Even though I’m not currently working, three day weekends are AWESOME. I had a really relaxing time and saw friends and it was just good. I have two days full of interviews until the next weekend so today I should prep, tomorrow and Friday survive it all, and then go back to relaxing this weekend.

Part of it comes from having watched a gritty foreign film before bed. I lived in Rio de Janeiro for a few months while in grad school and I have to say: it’s one of the best places ever. I love Rio. But it’s also a place with the very rich and the very poor and the film I watched, City of Men (Cidade dos Homens) was about life in the favelas. Essentially, it was about gang warfare, with innocent people getting gunned down and people fighting because they had nothing to lose. The film ends well– certainly not a happy ending but it leaves you feeling like things worked out. But still– probably not the best thing to watch right before bed.

I’ve also just generally been really depressed about the state of the world. I think it’s probably something that can be noticed in my previous entries. I think I tend to be a bit of a Debby Downer when it comes to views of the world– that things suck and don’t stand a chance of getting better. The title of this post and the picture above is a reference to that 1970s song that goes “Oooh child, things are gonna get easier / Oooh child, things’ll be brighter…” There’s something really soothing about that song– like it’s something that a mom would sing to her child to soothe his/her concerns, while (probably) knowing that things may or may not get better. But you have to hope, I guess. At least outwardly.

I live in an area that is somewhat mixed, I guess, when it comes to socioeconomics. Closer to the freeway are the smaller homes from the 1970s and 1980s and are inhabited by middle class families. Up the hill are the newer, bigger homes owned by engineers and people probably considered middle to upper middle class. I drive down the hill to get onto the freeway and for the past few months, I’ve noticed this Filipino homeless man panhandling on the median. I keep thinking about him b/c I see him nearly every time I pass that intersection and because he’s been there such a long time, I’ve watched his physical appearance change. The last time I saw him, this past Monday, he just looked so much more sluggish and tired. It makes me sad.

It makes me sad for a lot of reasons. I don’t want to make any sweeping generalizations, but in truth: Asian communities and families tend to take care of their own. I wonder what happens when I see Asian people who are homeless– where is the family to take care of this person? What happened? I also wonder about immigrants and whether language and knowledge of available resources is part of it. This particular guy, when he first started panhandling, looked so clean and groomed. He would wear a checkered shirt and jeans. He had what looked like a clean windbreaker. He still looks somewhat groomed.

I wonder about the toll that this takes on the person. The lack of interaction with people would drive any person crazy, I would think. I wonder what he does when it’s nighttime and he has to find a place to sleep. When my grandmother was in the hospital in essentially a coma, the saddest time was always right when I woke up and when I went to bed. I realized what made it sad was the silence. Because during the day time, there is noise and distraction and you can keep yourself focused on doing stuff. But when you first lay down, it’s so quiet and you’re left there alone with your thoughts. I wonder if he cries. I wonder what he thinks about. I wonder if he thinks tomorrow will be a new and better day. I wonder what motivates him to keep going on, knowing that things probably won’t get better. I’ll be really honest: if my life came to that– panhandling without a sense that I could live a decent life, I think I would just commit suicide. I told my friend that last night and she said that I probably wouldn’t– that I’m crafty enough that I would figure something out. And I guess, she’s right. But I do wonder what motivates people to wake up and face a new day when hope must be so low.

I dunno. It’s kind of cloudy today and I just generally am feeling really down. Not sure if this is temporary or an outcome from my sustained unemployment.

— DOA

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