The woman who stations herself near the Waldorf School was sitting in her usual spot last night. I passed her on my way to the Loyola red line. She is an African American woman with short graying hair; her joints are indistinguishable, buried in flesh. I wonder how she moves about and it occurs to me that I have never seen her walking. She has no teeth. I noticed a nubby cigarette in her hand and for some reason began to think how strange it most feel to smoke with the paper touching your gums.
"Honey, I'm homeless," she says as I approach, "can you help me out?" This is what she always says and sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't. I've passed her many times and feel like we are acquaintances at least. I feel sad that I don't know her name. I ask for it this time, but she doesn't hear me and I let it slide. I'll call her Ana for now. Ana rides the train all night for warmth and because it's safer than sleeping in the street. She told me that she filed for social security and was not denied. Ana expects to receive payment by the middle of this month. I didn't think to ask her where the check will come to.
"I plan to use that money to get me an apartment," Ana tells me, "I sure will like that."
Love, I think, is like manna. Trying to save it up only causes it to spoil. Better to give it all away, trusting more awaits with the morning.
I heard a bit of a report on the BBC News Hour about video games. They played an audio clip from a game with terrorists as the main characters, the avatar for the real-life-person holding the game control. I could hear the sound of guns firing, people running and screaming. This is entertainment. I am sick at heart. Our sense of safety at the distance between violence/murder that is actual, and violence/murder that is synthetic, frightens me. What is the appeal? Actual terrorists tend to perform their acts for an ideal and they are demonized. Gamers do it for fun.