No miles walked today, except to delicious Jack in the Box and back. The Jack I went to was filled almost entirely with crazy people, homeless, or, like me, crazy homeless people. It's probably a pretty good town for it, weather considered and all.
Armies of homeless and crazies is something that you expect in a large city but sometimes forget about when you are other places, small places, for so long. And Houston is big. I didn't realize how big Houston was before I walked in during the first hour of night and saw the enormous skyline so indicative of our big city horizons. It suddenly occurred to me that this was the first really big city I had been in since probably Atlanta, GA. And that was months ago.
Talking on the phone with a close friend of mine who had taken a friend out of the county to Pittsburgh for the first time and saw the wonder on her face, I realized I had succumbed a bit to it myself even though I had been in many large cities. It was as if the skyscrapers snuck up on me, I was struck with awe, and for a time I stood on an overpass and just gazed at it. We are pretty industrious little creatures, us humans. It's hard to believe anything so giant and nearly epic really came from our soft fleshy little hands.
On the way home from Jack I wondered slowly through the city, the barrios, the ghettos, the worn out edge of town that is ragged like a flag left out in a storm. It's hard to take that this too is America, that we could let any place in our land wear and fray like this, that we would leave our fellow countrymen to wallow in squalor. It's not Houston, it's everywhere. For all the amazing people in our country there are still many problems which, like our cities, seem epic, but we know how to build something, there's a system, to fix a society . . . it's a task which seems beyond epic, like sifting the sand on a beach to find pebble. I can't help thinking that it wouldn't be all that hard though, if people wouldn't break bottles or leave trash everywhere, if the city would fix the broken sidewalks that are symptomatic of poor neighborhoods, if the rest of us would just do anything to let the people who have found themselves on the lower rungs of society know that they are important and there are possibilities beyond the world they may have been born into. But, I am like the rest of you, I don't know what to do or where to start, I'm trying something, but I can't say I am helping the people who need it most, I just hope I am.
I have about 1650 miles left, which is roughly 3 months, and a countdown of days is in my mind. I would like to think that when I finish there will be a way to continue to help people, that I can live a life worth living and with it inspire and help others, but I also realize that when I am done I may end up in hard times with many of the people I wish i could help. In debt, no work or home, though the future is far and approaching slowly, it is nowhere near as sneaky as a skyline, and I am as weary of its approach as I am excited for it.