Sometimes I Get Tired…..

(Paris near  Pigalle)….of panhandlers that make me uncomfortable, and achingly self conscious as I walk past them.  I’m unwilling most times, in passing, to part with spare change.  My son chastises me when I do, telling me that we need our money.  He’s right, we do.  But I find myself giving my money out to people who grab my attention….in this case, for these two beauties, 4€ and one whole roast chicken and some Vittel.  I can’t afford this generosity quite honestly but really, I can when I consider how little they have.  I mean, yes, they are “Les roms” as they are known in France.  And yes, there are those that are scary and difficult.  I see groups of them in Paris and have had a few memorable occasions with men who were bent on taking my camera.  But not everyone reacts to generational poverty by pursuing a life of larceny.  I watch men, French men, often older, outright bullying young gypsy women on the street.  Knocking into them, throwing garbage at them, spitting.  They are very vulnerable and some react by becoming so tough and hardened that it’s nearly impossible to detect whatever softness and light might be left, and connection with most of the hardcore street gypsies is nearly impossible.  We are not real to them, just a means to an end.  They’re completely isolated socially from mainstream society.  But when you observe them together, in small groups, you can see that they have each other’s backs.  It’s really a tragedy, that it’s often such a separation between different groups of people.  Such a trite sentence, that last.  But it really is, a true tragedy.

Author: suzannesteinphoto


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