I Just Want To Say Hello
Say hello, that’s all. Just say hello.
A simple hello. Look me in the eye and say hello.
Please. Please don’t pass me by or cross the street. Your whispers to your friends breaking my heart. The looks of disgust reinforce what I’m starting to believe, that I am no one.
I may be homeless but I’m just like you. Flesh, blood, human. My heart beats and breaks, so does yours.
I may speak to myself or look a little crazy to you.
Do you use that word crazy about me? Do you? They say a homeless person’s mental health starts to go after three days on the streets. Some of us got here because of our mental health issues. So please, next time you think of calling me or my friends crazy, don’t. We’re just calling you Pearl Jam fans. You’re people who’re going to a concert.
I’m a person who lives in a shelter or on the street or in my car or a disused building. Even so, I’m a person even if you might forget that sometimes.
Please say hello. Even ask me my name, I do have one you know. It’s not the drunk, the bum, that fucking tramp, get a job you lazy prick. I have a name.
Just like you.
Some of us drink, use drugs, that’s why some of us got here, others use it to get through the day.
Most of us would love a job, some of us are too beat up we can’t. But with care, compassion and patience we may be able to work again. My buddy up the street knows all about tech stuff, I don’t I’m older but I used to love working with cars. The lady over there, she was a waitress but the place closed down and she couldn’t find another job, then the bills, the rent...anyway, you know the story. Or do you? Or are we all just bums? Did you ever stop and talk to one of us and find out how we got here? You know a lot of us were abused? You knew that.
A day of shame, hopelessness, hunger, grief. A day spent looking down, a day spent waiting for it to end, to turn into night to hopefully sleep. A night of rest, maybe somewhere dry and safe. Sometimes we get pissed on by drunk people but that’s ok, they’re on a night out so getting drunk is acceptable and who cares, I’m just a bum and it was only for laughs.
I might make it through the night. If I do I might find some food or somewhere to wash. I forget I don’t wash because when I remember the shame is so great I want to die. I don’t want to stink. None of us do. The guy who lost his good job and couldn’t pay the mortgage, then his wife left and he slept in his car thinking there’d be another job but there wasn’t. The lady whose husband beat her and no one did anything and she ran away to nowhere because it was better than beatings. She wants to wash. To sleep in a bed. The booze gets her through the pain, the terror. She hasn’t started working the streets. Some do. They all hate it. We’d all love a wash. Oh to soak in a hot bath then sleep in a bed with fresh sheets. I remember that. It’s been a while though.
Just say hello. Please. Find out my name. Take ten minutes before you see your band, stand in line for a tshirt.
Go to your show. Have a great time. These shows might change our lives, that band you love are doing so much. But I still need to be seen, it won’t happen overnight. See me as human. My heart beats like yours, breaks like yours.
I have a name.
Do you have the time to find it out, to treat me as a person before you go to your rock n roll show? Before winter comes and some of us die from the cold.
My friend used to go and see your band before he had the breakdown that lost him his home. He tells me he couldn’t get out of bed for weeks and lost his job, depression really hits some people hard. He says sometimes a crowd at a Pearl Jam concert all scream hello. We laugh and say imagine if just one said hello today, just one stopped and didn’t walk on by.
Can you be that one? Please?
I do have a name.