Although I am retired and 75, and live on a fixed income,I wish to continue to help make the world, and Palo Alto, a better place.
But seeing two different sets of women with infants (babies) in their arms, and cardboard signs, at 7 p.m. at the Midtown Safeway tonight got me to thinking about so many things. I flashed to what would happen in some European countries--I saw an image of a pair of bobbies (male and female) in England, approaching the women genttly and guiding them away to a social services unit, probably.
I wondered what we do in Palo Alto to spot child endangerment on the public streets? Call a cop? They don't even come for auto accidents. Would they show compassion?
How about all the people rushing in and out of the store, past the women and babies, still locked in the heads at cyberwork? Will they social network about it?
And what about the women and their babies? Obviously they don't live here, so is it believed that kindness and generosity are easily available here? Don't they feel there are social service agencies and religious organizations that can help them better than begging in the streets and damaging their babies?
So, no, I don't think we have the advanced social services of the Europeans, nor do the princes and princesses of startups here have the time or inclination to do much after 12 hour brain drains and accumulation of their own needs (wants).
It also connects with the car campers and homeless living on the streets of Palo Alto, some obviously very mentally ill--almost dangerous-- and totally ignored by us for safety and other reasons. Women and men on University Ave have staked out THEIR habitual begging spots (which they will sometimes fight over as if it their property). You walk past every day, as Maseratis and BMW's and Mercedeses surge by. Do you disconnect? Experience futility and despair at the uselessness of trying to help?
So do you "doublethink," a la Orwell? Hold two simultaneously contradictory thoughts in your mind at the same time, as if that's normal? To stave off the madness?
This story contains 400 words.
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