But it did change. And now at 37 I feel like I don't know anything. Things are never quite as they seem. Situations have many angles and no viewpoint is cut and dry. There are too many variables. I won't ever know all there is to know about a topic to make an absolute, set in concrete, never change my mind stand on a topic. I can be firm on a decision, but I also know I need to listen to other sides. (my 19 year old self says this is a wishy-washy way to view life) (I wonder what my 72 year old self will say on the subject?)
On the radio today an announcer was dumbfounded that many homeless people have cell phones. He quoted Don Sisler, executive director the Union Gospel Mission from an article from the Star Tribune who said "... But those [homeless] who do use them to manage their lives, just like you and me."
The radio announcer, Mark Davis on 820AM in Dallas, couldn't fathom what in a homeless person's life would need to be managed. All I could think was; Is he serious??? Is he that narrow minded? What in the world was he thinking going on the radio and saying something that makes him sound so incredibly STUPID???
I wonder what my 19 year old self would have thought about homeless people having cell phones? Even at 19 I would hope that I could see more than one tiny little facet of the issue, unlike that Mark Davis guy. (I would love to call in and tell him what a moron he is, but it wouldn't do any good.)
My niece, for all intents and purposes, is homeless. I don't think she's ever slept under a bridge. (That would be my 19 year old self's definition of homeless) My 37 year old self's definition is if you don't have an address to forward mail when you move because you don't know where you'll be from one day to the next, then you are homeless.
She moves from one friends couch to the next. She won't or can't hold a job for more than a few weeks; doesn't have a drivers license; isn't in school; and she doesn't want any of those things in her life right now. And that's okay. (It's taken a lot of letting go for me to say that last sentence. I'm sort-of a fixer person and I've had to learn that my lifestyle is not the only lifestyle.) Her hair and clothes are clean and she eats regular meals. She comes for family holidays. She is happy with her life.
My niece has a cell phone and we have established that she is homeless. Her Grandma pays the bill on that phone. (I think she still does) It puts the whole family at ease to know that we can get in touch with my niece if we need to. And, more important, she can get in touch with us if she needs to.
I wonder how old this Mark Davis guy is? I hope he's only 19 and there is a chance he will learn to see more than one narrow little view of the world because it would be a shame for him to die and have his tombstone read:
"Mark Davis, he couldn't find his ass with both hands. Bless his heart."