Monday, August 9, 2010

Pleasantries with a Bum

"I'm sorry, ma'am. He didn't make it."

Those were the words spoken to me by a police officer, yesterday, about a homeless man who lived on my street. Before I was close enough to see anything, I already knew what had happened. A small, curious crowd had gathered on a grassy area where he drank during the day, and police were busily shooing and interviewing.

I took a photo of him a little over a month ago and posted it to this blog (see previous). He didn't know he was the subject of my prying iPhone, as he was fast asleep next to what was his make-shift toilet. I didn't include his face. No matter what our circumstances we all cling to a certain amount of pride, and invading someone's privacy is still possible in a public place.

Whenever I'd walk past him with my dog in tow, we'd exchange a few garbled pleasantries. Alcohol had stolen most of his ability to speak. Wheelchair-bound with Parkinson's, bending to pet Sam was a difficult task for him--but he always tried.

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