When the man carrying a sign walked by my car at the intersection of I-95 and Broward Boulevard, I did not thank my lucky stars that I wasn’t him.
Instead, I wondered: How did he get this way?
Certainly, I figured, he’s had some bad breaks. Even more certainly, I was sure, he put himself where he stood, begging, with a sign that reads:
“War Vet. Homeless. Anything Helps.”
I didn’t ask his name. To give him a face, let’s call him Richard.
Richard, a young man with empty eyes, too young to be homeless, has left himself adrift with nothing to fall back on.
In the same way we are leaving ourselves adrift.
With our addictions to old habits.
The worst of which is an addiction to fossil fuels.
Heating up the planet.
Swelling the oceans.
Killing plants and animals.
Causing droughts and disease.
2020 was the hottest year recorded in human history.
Where are the headlines screaming: We Can’t Keep Doing This!
Where are the leaders imploring us to come up with solutions.
“We’re working on it,” they say.
“It’s a hoax,” some of them say. “What’s good for business is good for us.”
Idiocy. Short-sightedness. Laziness.
We are lagging too far behind.
At the rate we are going, we will soon be homeless.
Just like Richard.
Then, we will wonder:
How did we get this way?