Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Is It The Thought That Counts?

Each day as I walk to school, a bit more than half way there, I come across a homeless man sleeping on a shelf like protrusion from a building currently under reconstruction.  The area he sleeps on is barely the size of a child's cot, but at his head, he has his 2 liter bottle of gut rotting wine, what looks like stale bread, what must be his change of clothes. I wonder where he does change them. Seeing homeless here is like seeing fish in the ocean, nothing unusual. 

One day last week, I went into school later than I generally do. When I passed by my mentally adopted guy's "home" he was up, making his bed, and just as I passing him, he took out a comb to make his hair presentable moving down to his beard. This really touched me. He may have been homeless, but he had some sense of pride in his appearance. 

I looked for a Christmas stocking, but they are not as ubiquitous as one would expect at this time of year. I did find a red velour Christmas bag with ties that end in pom-poms and Santa on the side. Very festive. I filled it with those cheese balls covered in wax to protect them and a chocolate snowman. The plan was to tuck it under his blanket when I walked by this morning. Generally, I pass his place by 7:30am, but he is generally still sleeping in. When you don't have much on your agenda, why bother getting up early?
As I approached his block, I could feel something was different, not quite in place; things were contorted. With each step closer, I knew I had missed my chance. By the time I reached his protruding slab, there was no sign of him. He was gone. He had left. No sign of him; no forwarding address. Nada, nothing, nincs. I am literally left holding the bag. In my next life, there is no way I will be trusted to be Santa Claus.
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