Wisdom in A Bus Station Bathroom, and Words Heard on the Street

April 7, 2017
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Sometimes when the seasons begin to change people get talkative and the whole city seems to break out of the winter shell, and conversations pick up.

I feel like that’s happening now.

As I’ve come and gone over the last week, I’ve picked up a number of funny conversations, sad commentaries, and clueless questions in passing. One of the best medicines for the changing season is to innocently eavesdrop on some of these gems – these moments that people excitedly share as the seasons begin to look up and life seems a little more tolerable for an instant.

Earlier this week, I was passing through a very busy public bathroom to wash my hands.

Two homeless men were sharing an electric razor at the mirror, having a shave in the mid-morning after a rough night on the streets.

Despite their lot, both men were upbeat and talking excitedly about Donald Trump.

What ensued was a political discussion between two homeless men about whether or not Trump was going to be good for them or not. It’s not everyday such wisdom is shared over a collaborative shave amongst some of the most unfortunate in our city.

One of the men said he thought Trump might be a little “off,” but he said he agreed that President Obama had let too many illegal immigrants into the country. And he had reason for this. He said too many illegal immigrants were clogging up the shelters and sometimes in the summer that meant guys like him had to stay on the streets, as the beds were full and they wouldn’t let him in.

“I was born right here, about two blocks away,” he stated. “I think I should be able to get in the shelter before someone who came here against the rules and all.”

It was an interesting perspective.

The second man, who said he was Puerto Rican and a citizen, said he agreed the shelters were too crowded, but he wasn’t so sure Trump was going to help the homeless. He heard Trump was going to close down the shelters.

The other man asked where he had heard that, quite alarmed, as he took the razor off his face in shock.

“Who said that?” he asked in a tizzy.

The other man wasn’t sure.

“I don’t know,” was all he could offer.

The conversation went on, the dialog just as interesting, and I couldn’t help myself.

I asked them if they had voted in the election for Trump.

The Puerto Rican man just laughed loudly.

The other fellow said, “I’m not sure. When was the vote?”

Without another word, I left them to their happy shave.

Over the weekend, I happened to be at a local coffee shop in the off hours killing some time before a dinner date. At those times, usually managers do their hiring functions, conducting job interviews in the booths next to the scattered customers.

The young man seemed uninterested in the job, but he was there and he needed it.

Everything written on his face said, “Lazy.” I have seen guys his age like that too many times to know that he wasn’t going to be helpful to this business.

I could tell the manager knew that if she hired him, she was going to be firing him later on.

Finally, the young man said, “I have a tendency to be unmotivated, but I’m extremely ambitious if I’m interested.”

See ya!

Finally, I was with my friend and his young grandchild walking in one of the business districts.

We passed a mattress store, one of the many that for some reason dot the landscape of our commercial areas.

A poster in the window trumpeted, “Zero interest for five years,” trying to lure buyers in with good financing terms.

The young girl pointed to the sign, “That’s sad; I feel bad for them.”

I asked her why she would be sad due to the poster.

She said, “Well, I feel bad for them. I can’t imagine what it might be like for no one to have any interest in their business for five years. I just wonder how they keep going every day with no customers.”

Now that brought me a good spring-time laugh in Monday’s sunshine.

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