The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Live Strong, Seth

“Seth”, the man from Seattle. He wore reading glasses, long, curly, collar length hair. Backpack over his shoulders, not a school backpack but a trek pack. He looked like he’d been living on the street but there was something more about him where I felt the need to approach and really know. He didn’t exactly look like a typical homeless guy you’d find in Venice or Santa Monica. He still had his youth about him. The scruffy facial hair and smell of vodka didn’t help his cause but then again, his cause is to reject society. He’s “fed up with all the bullshit”. “Be who you are man” is what he tells me multiple times after we had established a bond. It’s strange, the conversations you can find yourself a part of when you forget you are a student at LMU, a 21 year old college student who is supposed to be interacting with people of that social network.

But when you talk to these people, you understand their condition to a certain extent, you hear their story and see, the best you can, the world from their point of view. You see the people who pass by, giving looks of disgust or turning their heads immediately to avoid eye contact, to avoid the possible interaction that will force them out of comfort-ability, truly realizing the sad state of affairs that separates them from Seth. Living in denial is easier. Maybe not denial, that might be harsh, but choosing not to affiliate. Yes, that sounds closer to a PR release. We’ll go with that one.

It’s a choice to remain distant. The problem is there, it’s in front of our eyes as we go to the beach with our friends, take our significant others on a romantic walk down the pier, or walk past a man begging for change on our way into 7-Eleven to get a Slur-pee. We see it in our daily routine, are reminded by news coverage, documentary films regarding the issue, yet we choose to let it be. My life is mine. Yours is yours. I chose to go to college, get a degree, apply for a job, marry my wife, have a child, and do my thang. And that is great. But let’s get together now. Let’s live for one another. We’ve been living for ourselves for way too long. The survival-of-the-fittest, Social Darwinism theory is cool, but it doesn’t address the reality of 7 Billion people living on the planet with one another, relying on the other’s existence for their own survival. There’s no connection there and it shows. We need interconnectedness for survival.

We preach this individualistic, make-your-way mentality here at home, but in reality, we rely on each other so very much. And it pains me when I meet people like Seth, who are bright, sometimes brilliant people, truly trying to make their own way and are designated to living under a lifeguard tower in Manhattan Beach. And then again, it’s his choice. The guy is smart enough to write a novel of his travels, which he intends to do. He’s a poet, a song writer, a painter, a sketch artist, a philosopher, a lover of creation, individualistic creation, the type that you seek out based not on choice, but on desire. He knows this is his plan, this is what he was meant to do. He was meant to create art. And living on the street for a time, figuring his shit out, focusing on finding himself, making sure he knows who that man is, is what he’s decided to do. That’s the path that’s led him there. He’s gained knowledge through it. He’s not just the schizophrenic man who doesn’t know left from right and will eat a baby if given the chance. Seth has his head on straight…maybe a little off center but damn close to straight. I hope to God he does figure his shit out, gives up the alcohol and continues following his passion. I want to see that guy publish a book of his travels, be the featured artist at a future Getty exhibit, hold his own, because he can.

Is it wrong I see so much potential in the people I meet? I know if I were with certain friends, maybe any friend, I would be told otherwise about Seth, that he’s just confused, living on the street, not making anything of himself, destined to become just another drunk homeless man begging for change. But I believe in him, his words were wise, they were true and nothing was held back. We had a laugh about taking a forgotten stroller, just left by a mother and child on the pier, me in the stroller, Seth pushing me along the strand towards his destination in Santa Monica, a plastic flask of Popov in hand. Oh the looks we would have drawn. We had a good laugh about that one. It was fun. He brought me down to a very real level from the start. It’s the kind of person he is. He’s a truth seeker. His main goal in life right now is to see himself. He wants to be who he is and he’s doing that.
Live strong, Seth.

~Jordan Bunger


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