Wednesday, May 21, 2008

1:15 p.m.

There are a lot of homeless people on the street right now. In a twenty minutes walk, I saw down on their heels folk gathered over at Slack Plaza, sitting under the awning of emptied buildings and killing time over at the library. They aren't hard to spot. Every year, I think I see a few more. Every year, the people I see look a little worse for wear than the previous year.

I'd just watched a woman get sugared up by a guy in a set of clothes that were barely rags. She was smoking a cigarette. He liked her. On his route, he'd stopped to say that he did. She listened, nodded, but politely declined the opportunity for dinner and dancing. He didn't seem to take offense, but moved along. Plenty of fish in the sea, I suppose. They say love is a numbers game. You just have to keep asking.

Makes sense to me. If you read Cosmo or Maxim or even Playboy, they sort of confirm that. It's like commission sales and that means phone calls, banging on doors, negotiating, but unlike sales, hoping you'll get screwed. Love is kind of tedious. The point of it seems to be to wear the other person down until they agree to something. In the end, it doesn't even seem like what they agree to matters.

I smiled at the woman as the homeless man went on his way and almost missed the other guy coming around corner. He'd just been turned down for a couple of bucks. He had a plastic sack in his hands. The woman he was communicating with had her hands up, was trying to peel away from his presence. He turned and looked at me. I apologized. I didn't have any cash on me. Usually, I'm good for a buck or two. I was looking for a place to eat as well, but just didn't have anything to give.

He nodded his head. He reached over and with his soft fist, tapped the center of my chest.

"As long as you have love for the black man in your heart, it is all right."

I nodded. Well, thanks.

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