Tag Archives: lighter

The quest for fire

I’d like to start today with a little personal info about yours truly: I have never owned a lighter. Emphasis on “never.” And I’ve never carried matches. Ever. I’ve never kept either on my person in my entire life. The only exception has been when we go camping and a starter we keep for lighting the BBQ. There have been times in my life when having the means to make fire would have been convenient, but that’s not the way I roll. I want nothing to do with either.

I’m not what you’d call a big fan of smoking. Somehow I escaped the gravitational pull of my entire family unit and went on to become the only one of us who doesn’t smoke. Mom, dad and sister. Everyone smokes but me. I guess that makes me the special one.

My thoughts about the human experience today have to do with someone I bumped into recently. It was a simple random encounter and over in a matter of moments. She was a street person who lived on the street. She was clearly beset with extremely serious mental problems and her face was more weathered and aged than the Grand Canyon – I’d bet she’s about twice as young as she looked. Seeing her was heartbreaking and raised serious questions like, “Why doesn’t society do something for someone like her?”

My wife was in the store and I was waiting in our car in a parking lot when this lady approached me. She never once stopped talking to herself. She knocked on the window of my car. A few feet away her possessions were sitting on the sidewalk. I opened the door and she asked me for matches. I told her I didn’t have any. She left and went inside. She came out with a beverage and headed my way again. At the last second she realized she’d already hit me up and reacted with a start, then turned away and headed back to the sidewalk. There, I assumed, sat most likely everything she owned. A laundry basket and a box.

She proceeded to move along down the street, but she couldn’t carry both items at the same time. Cars whizzed by as she dragged the box about 50′ on the sidewalk. Then she slowly shuffled back and did the same with the basket.

And so she went on down the street, moving 50′ at a time and retracing her steps each time. Two steps forward and one step back, only she wasn’t really going anywhere.

Why don’t we as society do something more for someone like her?