Friday, November 06, 2009

No Hobos II

My walk from the office to the train station takes me past a square that is a hangout for homeless adults. In the summer I wear large hats to protect myself from the sun. One man, with his paper cup outstretched, would often comment on my hats.

He hasn't been out on the streets for long. I started seeing him in the spring in a nice sweater and khaki pants. He stood straight with his clean teeth and would hold out his cup. He looked like a nice grandfather with his full head of white hair and sweet smile. But as the months wore on he is now in sweatpants and his hair is a bit more matted. One afternoon earlier this fall he had a black eye. When I asked what happened he told me he had fallen down.

After their day at the back-up child care center my kids and I were walking towards the station. The gentleman who compliments my hats was smoking a cigarette (a new habit I think) and talking in earnest with another man. He noticed me, promptly hid the cigarette and smiled.

"Where is a hat?" he asked.

"Nope. No hat today" I smiled sheepishly. "I have my kids though."

He said hi and asked them how the children were. I introduced them.

"Hi kids. My name is Patrick" he said.

We told him to have a good evening and walked on. One boy grabbed my hand and urgently said "Mommy?!"

"What?"

He pulled me down so he could whisper in my ear. We were at least a city block away from Patrick.

"How do homeless people go to the bathroom?"

3 comments:

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Good question.

Sigh.

mojenn said...

Such an observation.

UUbuntu said...

... and just when you thought that a lesson in compassion and sensitivity would be understood by us all, along comes a product like this:

"The Home Duvet lets you sleep under a cardboard box so a homeless person doesn't have to!"

another picture