I used to be homeless for a while, in Los Angeles and in another city. One day I was standing on Broadway in Los Angeles when a man came by, looked at me and spat in front of me. I was shocked and could not figure out the reason he behaved that way. Later, thinking about it, I realized he was telling me he didn’t like homeless people with bags being downtown around Broadway.
Here in Washington, many people think I could be homeless because I sell a street newspaper. In fact, I am elderly with a limited income. Most people are friendly, but some do not want to sit beside me on the bus. I think they have seen me selling the paper, because I usually sell in a well-populated area.
Clerks in stores near where I am a vendor sometimes rush me to hurry up when I buy something. I must quickly get the money and count the change. They watch me on occasion if I am at a self-serve purchase machine during peak selling periods, such as at the end of the work day in that area. They come to help me along, so that their regular customers can get their items and do not have to wait in line with me.
The actions of these people make me feel as if I am worthless while others are my “betters.”
Mostly, though, people who know me are warm and kind or at least indifferent to my presence. So, most of the time, I feel just as good as anyone else.