Exploding Art Mimbulus Mimbletonia style

A blog by Julia Felix about experiences on the CAMS New Media in NYC and Europe study abroad program.

Friday, September 15, 2006

"Can somebody please help me?"

Today started off pretty fun. After waking up way earlier than I should have (it was actually about 9am, but I went to bed at 2, so I really should have gotten more sleep) we met up with Patrick Kelley and talked about GPS systems and mapping. It was actually way more interesting than I thought it would be, and I actually understand it as a form of art now. There are all kinds of cool things you can do with a GPS system. You can use it to track where you go and then put that into something like Google maps and show where you were. And if you have a mapping program, you can put links in to a certain spot and show a picture that you took at that exact location. Or something else I thought was really cool is that you can actually draw a picture (something made out of lines would probably work best) and then put that into your GPS unit and it will make a route for you to follow. Then you can essentially draw a picture just by walking around. I hope I get the chance to use it soon to do something like that.

Stacy (in her dorky raincoat) checking her map in the rainMy roommate/friend Stacy and I went out today to go explore the city. We went all the way to the last south-bound subway stop in hopes of glimpsing the statue of liberty. Unfortunately, it's been raining the last two days, and it was really unpleasant outside. That doesn't mean that we didn't end up walking around out there for an hour though. We looked out over the shore at the statue of liberty, Stacy took her picture, and then we sort of wandered around a little bit.Where the World Trade Center used to be Without realizing it, we ended up at the World Trade Center site. It was sort of depressing to see just a big hole in the ground and think about how so many people died there that day. So I'm not really going to get into it.

Finally, we got back to a subway stop, went up to 14th street and got some coffee at a Starbucks. It was really good, but not even delicious coffee can sooth the burning anguish within my soul!!!!!!! Okay, not really. It totally can. Anyway, afterwards I went to go do my volunteering at Conflux, with pretty much consisted of me discussing mechanical labor with this artist guy for two hours. It was cool though, because I don't think I've ever had a semi-deep conversation with someone who I didn't know pretty well. So I made some kind of accomplishment today.

Anyway, after my "volunteering" shift, there was a Conflux party with some movies/presentations/audio things that were going to be done, and then there was going to be drinking and socializing afterwards. I watched all of the movies and things, but left before the actual party. Since I'm not 21 yet, and I was pretty tired, I didn't see much point in staying.

A nice blurry picture of the Conflux party
So John Schott, Rachel and I all left together to come back here to International House. It was quite a trip, since we missed one of the stops and ended up having to get on three different subways to get home. At the end though, the homeless man of the day came on the train and did his whole "excuse me ladies and gentlemen" thing, except this time it really messed me up for some reason. Well, not for some reason. I was filming stuff out the subway window for some little movie I'm going to make in a bit (it's not really a project, it's just to keep me busy) and when the homeless guy came on the bus I thought "yes! I finally have my camera out and ready and I can catch this on tape. Maybe he'll do something entertaining!" But this is what I got instead (sorry, it's sort of sideways because I was trying to do it discreetly):

It's sort of hard to hear, but at the end he says "Can somebody please help me?" And that kind of made me feel bad, but it was time to get off the stop anyway, and blah blah excuse excuse. Anyway, I was walking back to the building with Rachel, and we were talking about him, and I ended up saying something like "Well, he was a little too creepy to give money to anyway." and the second I said it I felt horrible. And then Rachel agreed with me, and I realized that's probably what everyone was thinking. It really bothers me because I was just really disappointed in myself and everyone else that we can just judge people like that. And that we can deny someone help just because of how they look or how they seem at first glance. Even if someone is really creepy and weird, does that mean they need help any less than some other slightly less creepy homeless man? And it's sad, because that's generally how people think of it. I mean, that guy is probably homeless in part because he's so creepy. He can't do anything about it. So from now on, I'm going to give money to any homeless person who needs it, whether they're black or white, creepy or normal, naked or almost well dressed. Because it's not any different than my other philosophy about giving money to homeless people. I was talking to another girl about homeless people earlier, and she was saying that she doesn't like to give them money because she's afraid they'll spend it on drugs or something. And I told her that I don't worry about that anymore because I'm too afraid that they actually want it for food. So I give it to them anyway. So lesson of the day: Just because someone is strange in some way doesn't give us the right to deny them help.

I'll try not to be so preachy next time.



Anonymous Talia said...

I remember in London I always gave money to the beggars, because I was stricken with a strong sense that any day now I'd be right alongside them. I recall one day I actually did need to beg. because I needed to go get more money but was 20 pence short of the fare for a subway ticket. I went up to one guy and, being as brief as I could, explained by plight and asked if he could please give me 20 pence and then he snapped at me "No!"
I ended up finding a miraculous 20 pound note I had hidden in my purse soon after, so I was saved from having to ask anyone else.

1:43 AM  

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