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18th May
2014
written by LS Girl

Homeless – lifestuff.org

Solo road trips are awesome. Me and the Mini Cooper on the open road with the sunroof open, a Michael Hyatt podcast marathon on the radio, some grossly over-priced bottled water, and no particular stopping point or arrival time. It puts a smile on my face right now as I lay these words on the page.

 

Road Trip Destination: The Sunshine State

During a recent drive from New England to Florida, I took an exit off I-95 that ended at a busy intersection. I could see a McDonald’s that looked easy to get in and out of, so, with about four cars in front of me, I sat waiting for a break in traffic. Standing in the middle of a nearby grassy island separating the exit traffic from the onramp was a homeless man holding a sign that read, “Homeless, need food”. A break in traffic presented itself and I drove past the homeless man and down the road to the fast food restaurant. After walking around to stretch my legs, purchasing another violently expensive beverage, and using the facilities, I suddenly felt compelled to buy a bag of food for the homeless man, so I ordered several burgers, “to go”. Certain the onramp would take me right by the homeless man, I set off down the road, made a U-turn and headed towards the highway. As I approached the traffic light, I could see him, but the way the road divided meant I actually could not get to him by car. The light turned green and I drove forward, gawking around for a way to get back to the little patch of grass.

homeless

 

Driving in Circles

Great. The road turned into a highway and before I knew it, I was back on I-95. I noticed the car ahead of me was the same sedan that was in front of me when I left the McDonald’s parking lot. Seeing a young girl driving a black car with some goth bumper stickers brought back memories of my 20’s, and I wondered what kind of music she was listening to as she tapped her dark little fingernails on the roof of her car with the window down. She had a bandage on one finger, and I imagined her pet rat biting her as she got ready for the renaissance festival. As we both merged onto the highway, I read a sign stating the next exit was a half mile down the road. I took the exit, with goth girl leading the way. Circling back to the homeless man was proving to be a challenge. Goth girl and I took the same exit again, and I felt more connected to her with every blink of my signal light. By the third turn, I was worried she might think I was stalking her. Why was she driving in circles? I knew what my problem was; what was hers? Maybe she had rabies. As we both exited the highway and approached the McDonald’s, we both signaled and pulled into the parking lot and stopped a few cars away from each other. I wanted to be 20 and goth again. I let the daydream linger as I reached for the grease stained sack of burgers.

 

Kindred Spirits

“I think we’re doing the same thing,” she yelled from her parking space as she dangled a bag of food and pointed towards the homeless man. We were. We were both on a road trip by ourselves and were unfamiliar with the roadways. We both bought the man food, got lost, circled back, and decided to walk from the parking lot and deliver the food. “Let’s walk together,” I said. We hurried along the road and made small talk about how silly we felt driving around in circles. Upon getting closer to the man, he saw us and started to approach. He was about five foot, eight inches tall. He was very, very, thin, and extremely tan. His pale blue eyes looked sad and happy at the same time. After a dozen thank-you’s and God bless you’s, the three of us began walking along the road. “I’m going to bring this bag to my friend, we live in the woods,” he explained. I asked him how he ended up in an intersection holding a sign, and he said he used to be married and have a normal life, but that he’d lost his job and was told there was construction work farther south, but that turned out to be an exaggeration and jobs were hard to come by. He said he stayed in motels as long as he could, but the money ran out and he ended up on the street, and living in the woods.

 

What’s in the Bag

We said good-bye as we approached the parking lot, and the man walked behind the McDonald’s and disappeared among the trees. I wondered which bag of food he gave to his friend, because I had put a twenty-dollar bill in the bag I bought, but something tells me goth girl probably did the same.

end of support for XP


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2 Comments

  1. Cara Brook
    23/05/2014

    What a great blog! I always try to travel with extra food in the event a homeless person is standing at a traffic light or anywhere else I may drive by. You ROCK!

  2. 02/06/2014

    Thank you for reading and commenting, and for being awesome, kind, and generous 🙂

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