08 February, 2007

These make me feel cold just looking at them

1. Traffic on 76 and the beginnings of West Philly. I was hoping to get some pictures of the city skyline as the sun set, but it had gone down too much when I arrived, and the brilliant glow had faded.
2. South St. Bridge iron work. Soon to be replaced.
3. Through the iron grating.
4. Train tracks along the Schuylkill. I like this shot, but regret putting the camera away so soon. A train came toward the bridge from the horizon moments later, and would have made for a good shot. It was cold though, so I wasn't staying out there too long.

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It was damn cold today, too cold to be outside really. I have been meaning to take some pictures from the South St. Bridge for some time now, as I pass over it daily on the way to and from work. I don't generally bring the camera with me, but I happened to have it today. It was a nice, clear evening, the post-snow sort that it bitterly cold but still bright. Looking at these pictures, I feel cold.

It seems that the cold either keeps people inside or brings the crazies out. Every day this week, a lady who I presume to be homeless or transient has been sitting in front of Bucks County Coffee. From the time I get to work in the morning to the time I leave, she's been parked on the metal patio furniture.

Not only does she sit there, but she certainly makes her presence known.

"FUCK it's cold" or, alternately, "It's FUCKING cold" she screams intermittently. She demands money or cigarettes from every single person who passes. I'm not exaggerating when I say every person. Then, if you either ignore her or tell her no, she yells "You cheap BASTARD" or "Come on, have some mercy."

I'm not sure how to feel about her. On one hand, it is cold out, and it would suck to be sitting outside. On the other, I don't generally give money to people on the street like that. Not to stereotype, but the one time she was close to me to enough to be intrusive, she reeked of whiskey. This was in the morning. I'm not sure if it was residual or fresh.

The only time I have really given something to someone on the street was in front of Gwen's old apartment. I was very early this fall before moving to Fitzwater St. I was getting out of my car, and saw a man on the steps directly next to my spot. It was the first night of the year with a chill in the air, and the man was sitting up, holding his hands around his knees to keep warm. He didn't ask me for money or anything, but he looked cold. I gave him the army surplus blanket from my trunk which I had gotten for free at camp last summer.

How I saw that man and how I see this woman is different, though their situations may be similar. She sits and yells at people. I don't mean to come off as entitled or snide, but isn't that a very unproductive way to go about things? I wonder where she goes at night. Certainly she doesn't stay outside all the time. There must be a shelter where she sleeps or something. It's been so unrelentingly cold lately that staying outside 24 hours a day would lead to hypothermia no matter what you are wearing.

2 Comments:

Blogger Drew said...

She sits and yells at people. I don't mean to come off as entitled or snide, but isn't that a very unproductive way to go about things?

She's probably mentally ill. A big percentage of the homeless in Philly are, unfortunately.

1:14 PM, February 08, 2007  
Blogger Lou said...

She may be, I don't know. I feel bad for the woman either way. The girl who works in Bucks County said they don't tell her to go away because they felt bad for her, and she said sometimes they give her a coffee.

1:19 PM, February 08, 2007  

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