Thursday, November 12, 2009

Washington's Alleyways

My response to Meyer's Article, touching on the homeless and those who dwell in the alleyways he speaks of....

Each morning the cop car diverts from the public, crowded streets of Capital Hill into the living room of Washington's homeless. They've been stirring for hours, since the sun peaked from behind Union Station down the Mass. Ave channel and into their bedrooms. The privacy of night gives way to a public morning, as the cops arrive to make way for the public prerogative.

Their cars pull up over the grass into the center circle of Stanton Park. "Good Morning" they call over their loud speakers with a slight tint of irony, but they don't understand, not really. Steering wheel in their left hand, dunkin donuts in their right, they have the nerve to wake the peacefull to a world that views them in disgust.

Peter says "Good Morning" to me every morning from the corner of Mass Ave and 2nd, but his greeting lacks the mockery. "Happy Monday!" he continues, right hand propping him up, left wrapped around a coffee someone from the Heritage Foundation dropped off a little earlier. He used to greet us from his thrown of possessions, but ever since the city and local businesses pulled strings he no longer uses Capital Hill as his closet. He has his own closet now, but he would never abandon his post. Just like all of us rushing to work on the Hill, he has a public serve to provide.

1 comment:

Walter Cronkite said...

This piece is unfair and offensive to police officers. They are not policy makers deciding what to do with the homeless. They are hard working men and women who wake up early everyday to help make sure that the city streets are clean and the business is able to function smoothly.
It seems nice that the police make the effort to treat the homeless with a modicum of respect by saying good morning to them. If in fact there is any irony in this that they don't see, they should not be condescended for not being as well educated as we all are. And bringing up the stereotype of police going to Dunkin Doughnuts is just unnecessary.
But I do agree with the sentiments that this piece and Meyer's article express, that more should be done for the poor of our nation's capital.