Humbled by the Homeless
On my way to work this morning I was sitting at the stop light at Main and Kirby, doing what I do best – observing my surroundings. All the other cars were sitting around me and you could see their gazes wander the streets impatiently waiting for the light to turn green. Their eyes skipped over the socially unacceptable figure on the corner, but I saw him clearly.
A young homeless man on his hands and knees caught my eye and I began to pay particular attention to what he was doing. His sandy blonde hair was unkempt, but didn’t seem dirty. His shopping cart was next to the space where he had a neatly laid out a palate. I watched his hands as they ever so gently folded each blanket, taking care to make sure the corners matched up to create a perfect masterpiece.
He had the remnants of a cigarette or joint hanging out of his mouth, it was hard to tell. I averted my eyes to his shopping cart and noted how everything was neatly folded and organized in there too. As he stood up, I rolled down my window and yelled “HEY, HEY, HEY”. He looked up at me and started to walk to my car. His eyes seemed to be filled with loneliness and despair as if he knew his lack of purpose in life were set in between each folded blanket.
As he got closer to my window I reached in my wallet and pulled out some money. His long slender nose was set above a boyish grin; his teeth were slightly crooked and clean- free of meth scars. This made me feel good about what I was doing. The little white lines at the corners of his face showed the character of someone who used to smile a lot and had purpose.
He stood at the window of my car and I could almost touch the conflict going on inside of him, a battle of wills as if he were negotiating with an imaginary devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. I sensed his discomfort seizing his insides. I handed him some money, and then silent resolve, as if a moment of clarity had graced his consciousness.
He nodded revealing the portrait of a man who was humble, knowing only his failure and said “Bless You.” I hope he is there tomorrow, I really want to know his name.