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As I was walking to the subway after work I noticed a young man who’s bike chain had come off the wheel. He was staring at it and clearly out of his element unawares of what to do.
How I know that kids don’t play outside anymore? This is how you know that kids of recent generations don’t really play outside anymore. I don’t know much about cars and crap like that, but me and all the guys I grew up with knew how to change a flat inner tube by patching it up. We knew how to fix and put a bicycle chain back on. We knew how to fix hand brakes and could handle most bike related issues. I say most because at times we had to recruit Don Manuel to help us out. This young man had no damn clue what he was supposed to do. Pobrecito…
That’s when one of the local homeless guys came over and helped him get it back on. I figured that was cool of him. He’s a bit older so it’s likely that like my friends he too played outside as a kid. Sure, he’s probably gonna press the guy for some money for the help, but hey, those 80s and 90s street skills are invaluable!
As I continued walking into the subway, then I see a new homeless guy at the turnstile asking for money. I don’t carry cash on me so I said sorry and kept walking. Then I see the local mentally ill homeless guy with his pants on the floor and he’s standing there just peeing on the floor inside train area. No one bats an eyelash that he’s naked, peeing, we all just keep on walking. This is NYC after all, a place where you can run into old friends or dead people at any subway station.
I’ve spoken about homelessness many times, but I think that one of the major causes of homelessness is mental illness. I hope that someday somehow we address this. Until then, I guess that the kids who never played outside will have someone to barter with for help on bicycle problems.