A Long Way To Fall

Posted: April 20, 2008 in Employment, Family, Homelessness, Housing, Money, Poverty

Over the past couple of months I’ve been meeting quite a number of people. The problem is that while I can remember their faces and where I met them, I can’t seem to recall their names straightaway. On the other hand, they don’t seem to have much difficulty remembering mine. As a result, when I happen to run into one of them, they’re able to call me by name, while I go through the beginning of the conversation rummaging through my memory for theirs.  

It isn’t that my memory isn’t what is should be. I’m certain that with getting older my memory perhaps isn’t as sharp as it was when I was younger. All of that aside however, I’ve always had a bit of difficultly remembering names even when I can remember other things about the folks I meet.

I’ve thought about trying some of the herbal "remedies" that are geared toward memory: such as Ginkgo Biloba. I even went as far as to buy some. But I just could never seem to remember to take it. Consequently, names don’t come to mind

For example –

Early this afternoon, I ran into a woman I originally met a few weeks ago. Actually, she is the one who spotted me. She called my name to get my attention as she headed in my direction.

I was able to remember when I’d met her, where I’d met her and any number of other things about her and her husband. But I couldn’t put a name to the face. As we spoke, I found myself trying to avoid saying anything that would require me to address her by name. And, that made me feel extremely rude.

Most of what we spoke about was simple chit chat. But as the conversation progressed she again mentioned something that we had spoken about the first time we’d met: her husband had been unable to find employment.

He had lost his job abut six months ago due to cutbacks at the company where he had worked. Several positions had been eliminated and his was one of them. Now, he was forced to take whatever day labor he could get through a temporary employment agency.

Although she has a job, it’s part time while she finishes her education. They had both agreed that they would cut corners so that she had the opportunity to finish her schooling and get her degree. Now with their finances in as precarious a situation, they were both having second thoughts.

She admitted that they were very close to finding themselves having to move in with family to avoid becoming homeless. They’d already sold their second vehicle to eliminate that monthly expense, and they had sold off some of their furniture as well.

As she continued to share with me, I could see how much she was trying to maintain an optimistic attitude about everything, but in her eyes I could see the worry. And it brought to mind the many other folks I’ve met who are going through much of the same.

While I’m glad to have run into her again, I felt a sadness for her and her husband. And, as she and I went our different ways to separate situations my silent wish was that they wouldn’t have to know the experiences of becoming homeless. But who can say?

For so many all across this nation, there is only the finest of lines between being housed and becoming homeless. Their future is on a precipice. It will take only the slightest nudge to push it over the edge. After that it’s a long way to fall.

And an even longer climb to get out.

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