I walk under the freeway to get to Office Job from my parking structure four days a week. Half the time there’s a homeless man who has taken up residence on a street corner that I frequent on my jaunt to work. When it rains he goes under the freeway to stay dry, takes out the big sheet of semi-transparent plastic he keeps his stuff under, and hides under it himself. I’m not sure if he does this to make sure he doesn’t get wet (despite the fact that the freeway does a stellar job of this already), or to stay warm.
I pay special attention to homeless people, having spent every Friday for six years (middle school and high school) serving at a soup kitchen. I’ve become somewhat fascinated with the homeless people I see on a regular basis, most of whom have some kind of mental defect. I watch them, hoping to figure out the oddly logical justification for their strange behavior. This man in particular seems very organized. I have never seen him so much as make eye contact with anyone, let alone ask for money (or even speak for that matter). He never stands completely erect, and is very much in his own mind, which is in and of itself, kind of fascinating. I wonder what he thinks about. I wonder why he seeks refuge under that thick sheet of plastic while the freeway keeps him dry.
Today it rained. Per usual, he was under the freeway and wrapped in plastic. Per usual, the visual he creates freaked me out a little.
To the untrained eye, he looks like a trashcan whose bag has been blown out of the can by heavy winds.
But those of us who take this route during the cold season know better; it is alive, and it is a man.
I’m never really sure if he sees the people who walk past him, if he’s paying attention to them, or if he’s focusing on something else.
The first time I saw him under there, I didn’t know it was a person. It wasn’t until I was dangerously close that I figured out he was under there and by then it was too late.
I had no choice but to keep moving. All evidence demonstrated that he was harmless. A few people had already walked past him with no effect. I figured I was safe, but kept an eye on him regardless.
Now when he kinda scares me by hiding under there, I take photos of him to put in my blog. I find it therapeutic.