Wednesday, September 9, 2009

We are the invisible people. (Springsteen, write us a song.)

Last week I was leaving the grocery store when a woman approached me and asked if I'd like to buy a copy of StreetWise, the local magazine sold by homeless and at-risk vendors. She said she was trying to get off the street and that selling StreetWise allowed her to not have to panhandle anymore.

I've been volunteering as a proofreader at StreetWise since March. I tried mentioning this to the woman for the sake of small talk, i.e. "Here's something we have in common," but she just looked past me and said, "Uh-huh." As I handed her my two dollars and she gave me a copy of the latest issue, I tried again, thinking maybe I should point to my name on the masthead on the inside cover. "Okay," she said. She wasn't listening.

It's hard being a proofreader. People pretend you don't exist, but the "problem" isn't just going to go away, no matter how many of us you don't employ.

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