Monday, August 15, 2005

Your life is good

We spent the weekend in downtown Chicago. It was intended to be a birthday trip for the kids. It turned out to be an eye-opening experience.

Our hotel was next to Neiman Marcus on N. Michigan Ave. also known as The Magnificent Mile. As we were leaving the hotel on Friday afternoon to have dinner, we passed a homeless man sitting on the marble window ledge of Neiman Marcus. He was just sitting not talking to anyone. He simply had a cardboard sign that said, "just hungry. God bless you." There was a coffee cup sitting in front of him with some change in it. As we passed, we noted the rich irony of having to beg for change in Neiman Marcus' marble window ledge with a mannequin wearing an $850 outfit watching over your shoulder.

The next morning, we headed out to the American Girl Place store for McK's birthday trip. This same man was lying on this ledge asleep with his head propped up on some rolled up bags. He slept there all night. He smelled awful when you walked by as well. I couldn't help but think how I had just walked out of a very nice hotel that is $200+ a night, heading to a store where dolls are $100+ each, and here was this man who was sleeping on the street. On the way back to the hotel, he was eating what was obviously someone's leftovers from the pizza joint next door. Whether someone gave them to him, or he dug them out of the garbage, I have no idea. I dropped whatever change I had in my pocket at the time in his cup, probably just to assuage my own guilt.

Yesterday when we were taking a last stroll up Michigan Ave., we saw a homeless lady gathering all the Starbuck's cups out of a trashcan and pouring the leftover contents into a single cup. McK asked what she was doing. TG had to explain it to her. These things are incomprehensible to a 7 year old whose whole life has been suburban bliss.

I can't stop thinking about that man in the Neiman Marcus window. I came home vowing not to complain anymore about my very blessed lot in life. If you're reading this on a computer in the comfort of your own home, then you probably shouldn't either.

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