Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lighthouse Mission

For the last two months or so I've been going to the Lighthouse Mission on most Monday nights. It's a short stint in the kitchen, 4:30 to 6:30, usually cutting up vegetables for the next day's meal. The best part has been getting to know some of the guys. The fellow who runs the kitchen is a Spanish-speaking Scotsman with a fondness for rap music. He's aiming to be the first Spanish rapper to perform wearing a Tartan. I think he will be the first. He's a lot of fun to work with.

One of the other guys I work with is incredibly smart. Yesterday we were talking about Jean Paul Sarte and the economy (well actually, he was talking, I was listening mostly). I think we got talking about psychology because he was telling me about the mindset required to survive in prison. He told me some pretty scary stories, the most haunting parts of which were the reactions of the onlooking inmates. Since then I've been reflecting on my relatively soft life.

Yesterday I met a guy at work who was completely decked out for St. Patrick's Day, including face paint and a kilt. We were talking about how kilts were just multi-use blankets, and somehow got talking about how much killing and stealing the guys who wore them did. I think I'm part of a very small minority of humans in history who haven't seen anyone brutally murdered, or experienced hand-to-hand combat. I don't know how I feel about that. Certainly lucky and grateful... but also something else, like apprehension maybe? Or disconnection?

Perhaps it's a distorted view; maybe there have always been lot's of people who lead safe, happy, secure lives. Maybe that's just the boring part of history we never hear about.

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