Friday, May 05, 2006

On Poverty and Air Conditioning

I have seen homeless people before- we all have. They are a fact of life when you live in the city. What I have never seen before, and what is disturbing beyond belief, is seeing homeless children. We had a meeting at a software company tonight. As we turned down the dark alley, I could see it was lined with a series of make-shift tents- like a shanty town. There were all sorts of people huddled in the shadows- barefoot stick figures. As we pulled up, security opened our doors and we were ushered in for our meeting. The place was bustling for its late time of 7pm.

As we left, a very cute little girl who could be no older than 3 ran up and grabbed the hand of my colleague. She then ran back to her little open tent. She gave us a big smile and waved. She was one of three children hanging out with what appeared to be her mother.

Despite all this poverty, no one has asked me for money.

There are cute little puppies all over the place. They run wild and sleep in the middle of the streets. I am always on the lookout and ask the driver not to hit them. They all look like the same sort of species- smaller dogs, very cute and athletic looking. There are also the wild random cows wandering around. They look quite thin, like most of the people. I guess this is what most cows would look like if they were not pumped full of steroids and growth hormones.

As we drove back, we passed a major street. It was very dark, and I could make out the figures of hundreds of people sleeping on the sidewalk. We continued down the maze of roads- including some strange streets that had trees growing out of the middle of the pavement, with the trunks painted with white stripes so drivers could see them. We returned to our air conditioned house. I was struck by the notion that no great novels have been written since air conditioning was invented.

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