Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Sad Part

Every artist will tell you that at the close of most outdoor shows there are plenty of folks down on their luck willing and actually wanting to help us pack our gear and carry it to our van, trailer, or truck. Sometimes they have vests labeling theme as porters and sometimes not, like in Savannah. Most of the time they are black men. Not always but in my experience they are the majority.

At Myrtle Beach and Savannah they are most prevalent. Tip them 10 or 20 bucks and you are packed up and on your way home while some of the other artisans are still breaking down. They are generally very trustworthy individuals because their reputations are at stake given that they rely on our cash to get them into the next week.

Back in November I noticed a black man reading a book on a bench. I couldn't quite see the name of the book as I passed him by but I did notice the book belonged to the Savannah Public Library. I saw him again the first week of December. He offered his manpower but given my disappointing weekend I told him I was fine to fend for myself.

I've been thinking about that man ever since. I wonder where he will spend his Christmas. I wonder if he has family somewhere. I wonder about why he was there in the first place and why a man, who presumably checks out books at a library, would be in a situation that he needs cash from an artisan doing a one-day show.

There are times that you see situations where you can make a swift judgment. There are also times when judgments aren't so clear and the "wonder factor" kicks into gear. I've wondered how a man that reads for leisure can sit on the beautiful waterfront of Savannah and not take it in. Is it because someone failed him? Is the beauty lost due to a deep bitterness? Is he waiting for something new to fill his soul?

I don't know but I care. The man probably feels like I do half the time - that I'm not the man I am supposed to be. It is a terrible curse and should be explored at some point. Until he is ready I hope to pass along another 5, or 10, or better yet, something that will make him feel more like the man he should be.


Anonymous said...

excellent post, Bennie...too often we pass people by, never even giving them a second thought. It does take some heart and mind to wonder about what other people's lives are - unfortunately, many people are soo busy with their lives that they don't want to fool with finding out - it would be uncomfortable, because it would require them to do something about it. or something along those lines....

we're off to Boone tomorrow - yay, last show before christmas.

j said...

Very indepth post Bennie, and it rings truth. Too many times do we walk by people and pass judgement :(

Gretchen said...

Why is it so hard for us to reach out and help or speak? Whether it's to another disabled person, a person who is/seems homeless or one who just wants to talk?

What holds us back? Fear? Mistrust? Not wanting to seem nosy?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.