17 Nov

The man was sitting on the low brick wall that curved into the park from the entrance. I saw him from a distance, my homeless person senses tingling. There are a number of tents and car-homes on permanent deployment near the park and the residents spend a lot of time in the park. For the most part, they are friendly, as this gentleman was.

Wearing a hat and face mask, my hearing is sometimes impaired. I clearly heard him say, “Do you have five,” but the ending was cut off. I assumed his last word was dollars, and I smiled with my eyes as Richard and I began to walk past silently.

“Just five minutes,” he continued. “I am doing sketches and you are interesting to me.” Well, flattery gets you many places, so I stopped.

“Well, I haven’t felt interesting for a while,” I laughed from a safe distance away.

“That’s a basset hound, right?” he continued. “We had a basset growing up.His name was McGee. We gave him that name thinking we were getting an Irish Setter, but we got hom. He was a good dog.”

“This is Richard,” I said as I watched him sketch, looking from Richard and I back to his sketchbook, his hand moving all the while. I gave him a little bit of Richard’s story and he shared some stories about McGee. He wasn’t wearing a mask, and, from the way he spoke, I got a sense that he’d had a hard life, or had some developmental issues. He wore no mask and I still had no clue as to whether he was an occupant of the encampment around the park. He was just a friendly guy.

“I’m done,” he announced suddenly, holding his notebook up for me to see. There were several sketches of Richard, from different angles. We wished each other a good day and Richard trotted forward – he’s a fast walker – as I heard the man ask someone else if they had five minutes. I heard the ending clearly that time.

5 Responses to “Interesting”

  1. arjeha November 17, 2020 at 9:31 am #

    Chance encounters can lead to such interesting conversations and results. Glad you and Richard had the five to give him.

  2. Lisa Corbett November 17, 2020 at 10:37 am #

    What a nice encounter! So many people are automatically afraid of homeless people and forget they are just people. Did you get to keep the sketch of Richard?

    • Adrienne November 17, 2020 at 10:41 am #

      No. He didn’t offer it and I didn’t ask.

  3. Terje November 17, 2020 at 11:26 am #

    It would have been so easy to keep walking on. I think it was kind of you to pause, let him draw Richard and have a little chat.

  4. theapplesinmyorchard November 17, 2020 at 7:07 pm #

    I’m glad you turned around and let him sketch your dog. You were kind. Thank you for that, as we need more kindness in the world.

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