Thursday, March 13, 2014

The shirt off your back

This is the free clothing pile at Slab City. Too bad there aren't some hangers, racks and shelves. I assume people thoroughly wash the clothes after selecting them. Maybe not, judging by a handful of folks around here.

It's interesting how people who have very little are willing to give to those who have even less. There's a vein of generosity running through the Slabs, through the ad hoc family of van dwellers, and through other communities on the fringe. You need something? Clothing, food, shelter, medicine, tools, materials, expertise, an extra set of hands? Someone will offer it if they have it. It seems like generosity becomes harder to find the farther up the economic ladder one goes. 

I have a hypothesis that those nearer to poverty have greater empathy, because they've been there themselves or can see how they're just a stumble from being there. They know how much a shower, fresh underwear and a meal can mean. And they can see how a tiny bit of kindness and help might lift a destitute person a little closer to at least their own level. 

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