Why Does Someone Live Like This?
I had just finished watching a movie on television and randomly clicked through the channels to see if anything else caught my eye. When I saw a woman teetering precariously atop a huge mound of junk, I stopped.
She was nicely dressed and appeared to be in her forties. Her long dark hair was pulled back in a ponytail. The narrator said the woman worked part-time as a clerk for a local hardware store. As I watched her awkwardly navigate the space, I was stunned to hear the narrator say this was “Carla’s” bedroom.
Upon closer inspection, you could see piles of clothes, but they were strewn haphazardly among boxes, stacks of newspapers, magazines, and books. There was no visible furniture other than a broken lampshade lying on its side atop a mishmash pile of junk. Plastic trash bags filled with God knows what, dotted the space. Most disconcerting was the trash; food wrappers, pizza boxes, soft drink cans, yogurt containers, and obvious garbage contributing to the landscape.
Well over four feet of refuse and personal belongings covered the entire floor.
The camera followed Carla as she proceeded to what looked to be a walkway, where the tower of trash was somewhat less dense but nonetheless, still difficult for her to traverse. As Carla tried to get a foothold, she would often slip and fall into the rubble. Eventually, she reached a place where a slight clearing was carved out of the chaos, revealing what appeared to be a large circular micro-fiber dog bed.
“This is where I sleep.” She said quietly.
I stared in horror as the camera zoomed in on a visibly active roach population moving freely amidst the debris surrounding her “bed.” My initial horror was superseded by a scurrying pair of rodents vying nearby for their own turf.
Suddenly, I felt like a gawker driving by a horrendous accident—torn between the knowledge I should keep moving, but compelled to stare.