His name is John Doe and I have seen him before near Wal-Mart about five blocks away.
I have read somewhere that the homeless tend to shy away from public contact. So I was a bit hesitant to approach John. I was, hence, quite surprised and thankful that he was accommodating to my pleasantries. And so, after introducing myself and declaring my intentions, I immediately asked him about his attitudes about other people, if it’s true that they avoid contact or that if he asked for help. He replied that it was obvious: “You see us, yes? I am not exactly proud of my condition. Even if I am like this, I am ashamed to ask for help. Being homeless is bad enough but being refused help is worse. Dignity is all I have left.” He added that the other homeless he knows have experienced being driven out by relatives and friends while there are those who have simply lost contact with them or that some have simply died. “Just gone, and we’re alone. That’s the fact.” We chatted further and I found that he has a daughter living in San Diego. He was not keen on talking about her and from the most I could understand from bits of information he was willing to share was that she doesn’t know about his plight and he does not want to trouble her with the new family she’s starting. There was this faraway look in his eyes that perhaps again saw the past regrets. So I asked about more mundane things such as how they eat, sleep and socialize with other homeless people. He told me it depends. Since he is constantly on the move, there is no opportunity for friendship or socialization. “It is sad that most of the time the only relationship I have with them is driven by competition.” He was referring about food. Also, it appears that there is no social hierarchy among the homeless and that the closest to this would be the kind of territoriality that comes in foraging food and in asking for alms.