To Wake the Dead?
I swear, the "small town" in my mother can come out at the most random moments. We were at the lake this weekend (naturally) and came up on this lady who, in my eyes, was obviously homeless. She was sitting in a wheel chair, with bags hung all over it, stuffed under it, and in her lap. You know, traveling with all her worldly possessions, as most homeless people do. She had her arms folded on top of the bag that was in her lap, and her head was face down in her arms. She was asleep. Or dead. I don't know which.
For some reason, this alarmed my mother, who swears the lady wasn't homeless. (As if she's #1 at spotting who's homeless and who's not.) Oh. I think it was because she looked "clean."
Mom: "Should I go ask her if she's all right?" (We were stopped at the Runtex table getting water.)
Me: "Uh… NO! Leave her alone. She's homeless. She's just sleeping."
Mom: "I don't think she's homeless. She could need help."
My mom got a worried look on her face and I just rolled my eyes and walked off, wanting no part in her insanity. She stood around, watching the lady for a few moments. (I know because I kept checking back to make sure the old homeless lady who was pretending to be wheelchair-bound wasn't knifing her.) Eventually, my mom gave up on the idea of saving the world one sleeping homeless person at a time (I guess because I was getting pretty far ahead of her at that point) and she came on. But not without a deeply concerned look on her face (for at least the next two miles).
Was I wrong?
I've lived in Austin since I was 11 years old, so I guess my ideals are different than hers', who grew up in a small town and a simpler time, but the thought never crossed my mind to go up to that lady under the bridge, homeless or not.
Maybe the lady wasn't homeless. Maybe she wheeled herself there from her car in the parking lot around the corner, like my mom had imagined. And maybe she passed out for whatever reason. Or maybe she was homeless, as I had suspected. And maybe it was some sort of scam she pulled to get people to walk over to her to check and see if she was okay. And then maybe she robbed them! Or maybe she was simply taking a little nap.
I wasn't interested in finding out.
Does that make me a horrible person? (Don't answer that.)
One of these days I'll probably be arrested like the characters of Seinfeld were in the series finale.