Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Just some of the public housing we pass on our way into NYC.

I'd like to confess a thing or two. I am simply fascinated that so many people live this way, as part of "the system." I always stare out the car window with my mouth open like a country bumpkin, just gawking at these buildings. They dominate the landscape for miles leading into the city and must represent hundreds of thousands of people, at least. Every window (or two) could represent an entire family. "Incredible," I usually whisper to myself and then turn and say something similar to Dwayne.

And, somewhat poignantly, these buildings are set off in the distance, surrounded by what seems to be wheat fields. From the highway, we are too far away to see anyone moving around on the ground, so they appear to be totally abandoned. It's an eerie site. My mind always goes to Alas Babylon. (That book will ruin a person for everyday life, by the way. Don't read it if you ever want to be normal again. I can't pass salt in the grocery store without wanting to fill a cart with it.)

Where would these people go if something happened, I wonder. What if the city could no longer sustain them for some awful reason? At least, if the worst happens, we'd have a backyard with a garden and a water source and neighbors with tomato seeds who'd cooperate and help us out.... Mass migrations, I think. Large groups of terribly desperate people heading out of the city on foot toward... where?

Toward where I live. And then I shudder to think. However, a moment later, I am humbled and then I quietly thank God Almighty for his very practical, inherently valuable, often overlooked and taken for granted, real, material blessings to me.


Anonymous said...

I peruse a lot of homeschool blogs because I get so much good information from them as I am new to this journey. However, your post about the public housing rubbed me the wrong way. Why would you shudder to think about people walking toward your neighborhood from a housing project?? What would you be afraid of? What is your idea of people who live in housing projects? Lots of people live in housing projects for many different reasons. Many of them do have families they can depend on if they could no longer live there. There are also many people who escape the conditions to make a better life for themselves, perhaps they live in your neighborhood. People need love, respect, and a sense of dignity no matter where they live because they are human. Maybe I'm overreacting. I know its difficult for people to be sensitive to people who live differently than they do. One would have to be exposed to many different walks of life to know exactly what I mean. I doubt if you meant any harm, it just rubbed me the wrong way because I know a little bit more about that lifestyle.

Veronica Boulden said...

First of all, thanks for your comment. I don't get many, so I am happy that you (and perhaps others who didn't comment) are reading my blog. It's good to have you "here." Welcome.

Secondly, I agree with everything you added. However, I didn't feel the need to pad my post with these kinds of disclaimers, assuring sensitive readers about how I really don't think this way or that... The post was meant to be somewhat provoking. Your comment assures me that it worked. In all honesty, I am really excited that my writing managed to do that. :) I hope that doesn't sound arrogant... I have just been working really hard at my "craft."

The post was not meant to be a thesis on my political views or my opinions about public housing or my feelings about the people who live there... Read it again. It was meant to be an honest revelation of how I think. And, it shows, how, even if my heart was wrong to begin with, it eventually, I think, came 'round right.

But, the reason it is labeled "political" is this: I'd like to point out that most of these people (not all, but most), would be helpless without the system that keeps them. Consider the recent disaster in and around New Orleans... So many people were helpless without the system that provides for them. The system was overloaded for just a few days before and after (mostly after) the hurricane and we all remember the danger and despair. It was horrific.

If something like that happened on a larger scale (a disaster like the one in the book Alas, Babylon, for example) I simply meant to point out that many (not all, but many, many, many) people would be desperate and basically... on foot.

And, the shear quantity of how many people that would be helpless, creates in me, first... awe, then... horror, but ultimately... it brings me to humility and thankfulness, because, if the worst happened, I would be better provided for. That was the "moral" of my post.

And, unfortunately, this little post is about the most I can do about this potentially massive problem.

Comment back. I'd like to hear more about what you think.

But, thanks again.