22 November 2016
“Good morning, Bernard, do you have your winter boots yet?”
“No, the guy who said he was going to get them for me didn’t show. I sat out here all day Saturday in a snowstorm, and all day Sunday. I’ve only got leather summer shoes that get wet in the snow. My feet are freezing! It really annoys me when someone says they’re going to do something and then they don’t. Better they didn’t offer, then surprise me, rather than getting my hopes up for nothing.
“There is this religious guy who comes by every day. He says to me, ‘You’ve got to get out of the cold. You’ve got to get out of the cold,’ yet he doesn’t drop any change into my cap. How does he expect I’m going to get out of the cold? I thought the idea of religion was to help people in need, not just walk by.”
“Did Outreach come by?”
“I tried to call them on the weekend and I got a recorded message saying they were closes Saturday and Sunday. What kind of emergency service is that? If I’m going to freeze to death do I have to do it on a weekday. I guess I’m a bit down today. One good thing happened on Sunday. The Santa Claus parade came by. I didn’t get anything during the parade but after the crowd started to disperse a lot of people dropped change. I made $70.00 that day.”
25 November 2016
“Hi Bernard, I see you have new winter boots. Are they keeping your feet warm?”
“They’re okay. I’m standing on a patch of ice. If I stay still my feet are going to get cold, so I slide from side to side. I just hope that I don’t slip and break my nose. My cane is of no use on ice. If my leg gets too sore I can sit on my backpack.
“My hands are cold. These leather gloves are wet from the rain. When I go to the bathroom I hold them under the hand dryer for a while, but since my gear is outside I don’t to risk having it stolen.
“Do you hear those sirens? It seems I only hear them on days when it’s rainy and wet. Yesterday there was a house fire where four people were forced out on the street.
“I saw two cop cars pull around the corner. They got out of their cars and walked toward me. I thought to myself, ‘Oh, oh, I wonder what’s going to happen now.’ They just walked by. One said hello and laughed at my sign.”
I said, “I’ve heard from some of my friends that unless there has been a complaint made against you by a pedestrian for harassment, or by a store owner, if you’re on their property and they think that you’re discouraging customers, the police don’t get involved. In any case they usually just ask you to move along, or if they charge you it’s a misdemeanor. The courts will throw it out.”
“I never harass people. Here, I’m standing on church property. If I was on the sidewalk it would have been a different story.”
“Have you had any complaints from the church?”
“No, they’re fine with me being here. They say hello when they pass by.
“I tried changing my sign instead of having it read BROKE AND SEXY I was going to print BROKE AND SEXY IN THE COLD, but I couldn’t remember how to spell THE. The letters were floating around in my brain but they wouldn’t come together.”
To avoid missing posts and promotions, please subscribe using the form at the left. If you have previously subscribed, please subscribe again to this revised site.
Sample my books for free — proceeds feed the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home; Conversations with Street People