Another installment of “The Invisible Ones” of Washington, DC
Fred is a 60 something gentleman that I met panhandling on the sidewalk in a neighborhood of Washington, DC known as the “Golden Triangle” The commercial neighborhood that is home to more than 3,000 organizations such as top law firms, lobbyists, associations, and architecture firms; 200 restaurants; 300 shops, retailers, and 7 hotels. This area is especially busy during the morning rush hour. For Fred however, he may as well have been sitting in the middle of an open field out in the country as he was invisible to all who passed him by. Fred is a quiet man who only speaks if he is spoken to. If one chooses to do that it becomes very evident that Fred is unable to sustain a coherent conversation. I was able to get Fred to focus on his immediate needs for something to eat and a bottle of water, which he agreed to in exchange for this photograph. Fred is not able to tell me how long he’s been living on the street or anything else about himself that is based in reality. So I thanked him for his time and moved on. It is not uncommon for the homeless and homeless mentally ill to be found in this affluent and prosperous section of the city. As has been the case for years, the irony of this tragic clash of poverty and great wealth is totally lost on the city administration who are currently using the police department to move people along who are deemed to be unsightly or unpleasant in some way. If you see someone like Fred on the street. Spend a few moments asking them if you can help out in some way. Two things will happen, they will feel less invisible for a few minutes and you’ll feel better for having made that happen.