Homeless People Gotta Sleep Too

Last night I running in my new ‘hood as I anticipated that I would. While I was running 3 things happened to me that haven’t to me in many months while running.

First, I really enjoyed running. This has only happened once since we moved from Jax, and even in Jax it happened sporadically (usually when I was running with a couple of high school guys from my church in Jax at the local high school or when I ran what I dubbed the powerplant route), it happened often in Gainesville but hasn’t happened with regularity since I lived in Saint Cloud and was able to run on the lake front. As I left my house I was able to find a ‘boardwalk’ that is really just a wide, paved sidewalk for runners, walkers, bikers and rollerbladers to use. I’m not sure how far this ‘boardwalk’ extends, but it goes at least 1 mile one direction from my house. I ran to one end of it and at the end is a gazebo-esque thing with benches and a water fountain. So I ran on it and really enjoyed myself and the run.
The second thing that happened that hasn’t happened for awhile was I scavenged. Up the block from my house someone had thrown away a couple of metal shelves, that albeit they looked rough (rougher in the daylight today) need just a little TLC to be revived into shelves for usage in my attic study where no one will see them. Spray a little rattle can paint and they will be great. Classic Eli. I has been awhile since I have picked someone else’s trash from the roadside in order to use it myself. I like doing this. I suppose it is the pack rat in me coming out.
A third thing that happened to me is that I came across a homeless person. As I came to the end of the ‘boardwalk’ stopped at the fountain to grab a swig of water. As I did so, I realized someone was sleeping on the bench under the gazebo. Almost instantly I feared how this person would react if I inadvertently awoke them. I quickly moved on and continued my run. I was instantly shamed by my fear of something that needed no fear. I mean, homeless people gotta sleep too. It was a good place. Covered, and in a place where it was unlikely a police officer would happen by to hassle them. Really, other than the random midnight runner no one would happen upon them. They could peacefully sleep the night away. I am ashamed that I feared another human being who was asleep simply because they were homeless. Not only has it been several months since I have interacted with homeless people, it has been years since I was afraid.
It occurred to me I have become complacent in my relatively affluent lifestyle that affords me a house and a car and food with regularity. I confess to you shame for my fear.
There will undoubtedly be many more runs for me in my new ‘hood and they will most likely be runs that are enjoyed. immensely by me. I might even scavenge again. I will not fear what needs no fear. While many future runs abound and the potential is there for them to be adventures, none of them will be my first run in my new ‘hood.

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