Being There

A representative of the government's efforts to end homelessness came to town (well, Jamestown) last week. As usual, Yours Truly didn't hear about it until well after the fact. Would've liked to have been there; I'll bet I'd've been the only person in that room who's actually been homeless. Luckily, Cara Michele was all over things, as usual. She talks about it here.*

I guess it's just as well. Near as I can remember, I was at work that day. No doubt I would've been too exhausted to contribute meaningfully to the discussion.

Still, I don't like the idea that I didn't help out because I wasn't there. I could've lived with being present but ineffective. But I didn't help out because I wasn't there at all. And that rankles. A lot.

So what would my presence have brought to the table that the other worthies wouldn't have? I guess just my presence at all. Like I said a moment ago, I bet I would've been the only person in the room that had ever suffered homelessness. Maybe my being there would've put a face (ugly though it is) on the homelessness problem in the Triad. Maybe I could've caught up with the guy afterward and put a bug or two in his ear. Maybe simply have slipped him a piece of paper with the URLs for Cara's and my blogs. Maybe given him a piece of information that would've helped in the fight against homelessness. Maybe just been there. Sometimes, just being there is powerful enough; just ask Nichelle Nichols.**

It just rankles me that I missed an opportunity like that. Maybe I'm getting slack in my old age. Maybe I'm more burned out than I realize. Maybe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is setting in.*** I don't know anymore.

I do know that I sometimes I need to speak up, and I'm sometimes too all in to do it. More's the pity.

* In fact, she's always ten steps ahead of me on this effort. I envy her being so on top of things. In my own defense, however, it wouldn't bother me unduly if the events of February to May, 2006 were tossed in the ash can of other forgotten things in the back of my mind.

**Who you will recognize as Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek (finally worked in a plug for one of my fave TV shows...) The story goes that she was going to quit the show due to the scarcity and lack of quality of her scenes. At a social function, she met none other than the Man Himself, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, who exhorted her to stick with it because her very presence, even in the background, spoke volumes about the presence of negroes (the term at the time) in society. The rest, of course, is TV history.

***I'm not making light of this. PTSD is a real problem that manifests after all kinds of stressful situations. It's not just "shell-shock" anymore.

I find out about things because I'm a member of HPCGC and the Task Force, and I do NightWatch. You should join HPCGC, and then you'd get all those emails, too! ;)

And the Philip Mangano thing wasn't in the media until after. He met with homeless service providers and then faith community leaders, so it wasn't announced publicly ahead of time.
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