A little more information

The two main activities in my life: Helping the hungry in the late hours of the night and helping guitar players sound better one amp at a time.

I always try to remember that in order to do good one has to take action and actually do something.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I have watched the city and Southern California change for well over half a century.

I can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/mylesr or on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us or on my own Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting website at www.mylesrose.com

Los Angeles Architectural History

Los Angeles Architectural History
1935 Art Deco at some of its finest: No. 168 - Griffith Observatory- (click on the photo for information)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Is to have lived and lost is better or worse than to have never lived at all?

Today I am sitting for a while after spending the first part of the day with my two boys. We went out to lunch and just hung out a little. I came back home to get a bit of healing time under my belt as I have an injury or two that are on the mend.

Lunch today was downtown at Phillipe’s and on the way back to the boys house we drove through a bit of Skid Row as it is very close to where we had our lunch.

The more I interact with the homeless the more complex my thoughts on the subject become. Which group has things more difficult? What do I mean by group? I put people into my own groups of traits. There are the long term residents of the street. The people with mental problems. The new residents of the street. Those that never had anything. Those who were abused or tossed away. Those who had a life and lost everything. You can create a lot of groups in your mind. There is overlap in traits at times and sometimes no overlap of traits at all.

Today I thought of the group I call the "new" homeless. These folks all share a few traits such as they now have no stability in their life. In many cases it is a matter of economics of the day. They had a home and lost it. With no money for storage, many have lost most everything that brought them comfort and security. No house means no place to store all those memories such as their child’s first art projects, things they built themselves and countless memories that were taken for granted but gave them comfort. No more music while sitting in a comfortable old chair as they listen to their children play or even argue. No paintings on their walls … they no longer have walls.

Life is now more animalistic. Day to day survival is the order of the day … and night as well. All that was procured during a life is either gone or has no place to be stored or has been sold. Basic food and shelter are the first orders of business. This is not a set of insurmountable problems. There is food at the missions and shelters and when one is tired enough you can collapse and sleep anywhere. Old timers on the streets understand these things. New street residents will learn these things fast enough themselves.

Many long term residents do not have the sense of loss that most new time residents have. Some long term folks have lost the thoughts of the past. Some never had anything to loose. Some have mental issues and this may or may not be thoughts in their head. Some have turned to drugs and alcohol to forget.

New time residents have the daily survival issues and perhaps even more on their mind. New time street people were recently productive, recently had a home and stable life. In their own mind many now consider themselves a disappointment to themselves even though their circumstances are not their fault. They are under the pressure looking into the eyes of their family. You can think of one example after another. I wonder; to have lived and lost is better or worse than to have never lived at all? A twist of words on an old saying.

Higher education on the street has less value as there are too many competent and educated people competing for too few jobs. Formal education cannot help one survive on the streets. Formal education cannot bring peace, serenity, comfort or security as these things come from having a home … a stable environment, a place where you have some of the things that your family, friends and others you have been involved with in your life have placed around you or you have placed in your home. Having most if not all the things that made a home for you taken away is more stressful than many can possibly imagine. The situation is more akin to being an animal trying to survive day to day than it is to being a human being with friends, family and home in their life.

The more time I spend on the streets the more I feel I have been able to empathize with those I meet on a regular basis. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Sometimes I feel I am making a difference. Sometimes I feel as if I am helping. At other times I feel that I am doing little more than feeding the residents of some sort of cosmic zoo where the animals are in cages and I am able to fool myself into not looking too closely at my own cage. Some have the small cage of an alley, some have a shelter or bed for the night as their cage but some of us are in the same zoo and look the other way when they close the main entrance of the zoo for the evening … with some of us locked on the inside which we try to block out from our vision. The zoo and these cages are things we build in our own mind even though in many cases other people have put us there. These other people seem to have no conscience. They seem not to be able to reflect on their own actions. They have developed the ability to rationalize things in a way to allow them to sleep at night.

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In case you were wondering where I may have come up with the zoo reference see the photos above.

As we move into March the winter shelters are closing. One more layer of problems for many of the homeless, new and old hands on the street. 12.5% unemployment rate reported yesterday in California. Talk to ten organizations and you get ten different figures. The report yesterday said they “found” 300,000 people out of work who were previously uncounted. Some say the rate of unemployment is dropping. If you believe that nonsense hit the streets for a few days each month and observe reality.

In closing my thoughts for now I would like to thank Union Rescue Mission once again. They are trying to address the closing issues of the winter shelters and from where I sit it looks like they have an uphill battle. Still, they are effective folks and might be able to pull off a hat trick. If you want to try to help you can go to their website at http://www.urm.org/ as they have some places on their website to write to the proper people to voice your thoughts on the winter shelter problem as well as other issues.

Please excuse all my typing errors, spelling errors, grammar and phrasing errors. It has been a long and hard week. I post a lot of my daytime activities on facebook with fun videos, photos and dialogue but at night I have a more serious side to my life, helping folks out there one granola bar at a time.

I will end this bit of writing by repeating what I wrote above earlier. Is to have lived and lost is better or worse than to have never lived at all?

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