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From the outset these words are not the opening lines to a sci-fi drama. This is a horror story of sorts though as it’s a portrait of the “Alternative or Invisible People”, those individuals who inhabit the borderlands of human existence. The people in focus are real and through either personal preference or an imposed social obscurity walk outside the view that most of us would notice.

Have you ever sat in a Coffee shop generally watching people and glimpsed those that are a pale hue of humanity that move through our line of vision. They are unobtrusive and offer seemingly no interesting opportunity to interact, even if they are noticed. They mostly shuffle along with heads bowed in supplication to an unseen fealty lord. Being generally older in years they seem to lack the cheap signalling adornments that characterise mainstream humanity in its fashion sense. Their clothing may hail from charity shops and generally reflects a montage of past societal dress trends. An eclectic array of colours and styles just waiting to explode onto the fashion scene once more in all its glory.

Notice these seemingly invisible people as they seek the human warmth offered by communal places such as shopping centres.

I often wonder what their stories are and how their journey through life has brought them to this condition of obscurity where my fringe benefit of a coffee is their mainstay of existence. They may be mothers, dads, sisters, brothers, daughters or sons but where are those that once gave them succour, love and warmth. What is society doing to include them in the trappings of wealth.

Go to give them the time of day and often their interactive social skills are immature and deplete. There’s a lack of eye contact which is a device that most of us use to garner the social warmth that we cloth ourselves in.

So what do we do? We notice them, their struggle to be part of the human family and the social warmth that they no doubt grave. We give them time if the window of opportunity allows and we do not judge them or see their existence as less than our own. For these people are true life warriors that fight hour by hour for meaningful existence and scratch on the boarders of society seeking an open door into human acceptance.

Not so many years ago the worst excesses of this genre of humanity were in clearer view and frequented quite openly out communal spaces. We saw them in the full glory of their destitute condition. But now we hide them away from our public places allowing only the clean of virtue of their tribe to shuffle unnoticed in our presence.

Society is filtering these people out of view and replacing the vista with an artificial and contrived human landscape only partly representative of a variegated humanity.

Am I far from them or are we one, coexisting in humanity, just separated by our exterior skin and happenstance. We are interdependent with them and all part of the human family.

One sign of a healthy society is how we deal with the less fortunate and socially deprived. How healthy is your society? Do you notice the invisible people?

Reflect and look anew. What do you see?