What would Gandhi do? – 300 words 8/3/18

In a gentle way, you can shake the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

Today I’ve been obsessed by a letter written to a local driveway paper (The Beach Reporter) by a privileged human. I’m sure that she doesn’t think of herself as privileged, so I have decided to not take up a flame-thrower, and write a letter to the same paper in response.

The poor woman was offended, disturbed, and threatened, by the sight of a homeless person sleeping on the sidewalk. She would have had to pass by this person to enter a store where she had some shopping to accomplish.

She was flummoxed, here was an actual homeless person, here in Manhattan Beach, deliberately ruining her morning. Now for the record the homeless population in MB varies, but is usually 5 to 7 persons (the city has counted them). Running into one is an accomplishment.

I can honestly say that I recognize about 3 (I don’t know where the others are hiding). There is Crazy Joe, a peer of my wife’s brother that went astray. There is Tanned Leather Face Guy that talks non-stop if you approach him (he also seems to be clean all the time). There is a new guy that I’ve taken up calling Rasta Man. He is tall and skinny with dreads.

They mostly seem harmless. I’ve had the most interaction with Tanned Leather Face Guy. You approach him and he starts talking the most interesting string of bullshit you have ever heard. But like I said, he seems mostly harmless. I’ve even seen him sweeping the sidewalk in front of the UPS store (Thanks guys! I assume to earn a little cash). I usually slip him some money when I see him based on the idea that he needs it somewhat more than I do.

The others I have not had much contact with.

So the idea that this lily-white (I fit that description, and BTW MB is 83% white), privileged (you have to be privileged to live in this town), woman couldn’t find the gumption to walk around a sleeping homeless person to purchase her morning bagel and coffee seems a little ludicrous.

Maybe next time she could work up the courage to get around the person, buy herself and the guy some breakfast, and leave it on the sidewalk next to him to find when he woke up.

Just think, what would Gandhi do? Peace.


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