I almost took a picture of a homeless man. And it wouldn’t have been of the empathetic National Geographic kind. It would’ve been the self-indulgent kind. It started off innocent enough. I encountered this fella on a city side street, not far from the library. He was scruffy, but not in an outstanding way. He had Einstein hair, a baggy pair of khakis, a Walgreens bag, and he was eating a banana. At first glance, he fit in with the locals. There’s a college nearby that hosts many harried academics who forgo meticulous grooming for the pursuit of the higher mind so the only thing that stuck out about this chap was the banana. And let’s face it, banana consumption is comedy gold. Somewhere between the garish yellow and the simian similarity- dignity is lost and any trace of seriousness is transfigured to silliness. This is why I love gorilla suits and never eat bananas in public. The light turned green and I never had a chance to unearth my phone from the bowels of my handbag. All night long I put banana eating and blogging in the writing rock tumbler.
The next day I drove the same route and there was the same man, on the same corner. It was blogging serendipity. Was he eating a banana? Yes! What “fruituitous” serendipity. This was the best of luck. Then I noticed that he still had the same Walgreens bag. It sagged with the weight of its contents which were now visible, a browning bunch of bananas. Something was amiss.
This was a homeless man. My God, I had almost taken a picture of a homeless man. Am I the kind of person who takes pictures of homeless people for the amusement of others? What a sickening thought. The light turned green and I drove away ashamed of myself.
Every time that I write I learn something. Sometimes it’s about writing, sometimes it’s about myself, and sometimes it’s about the world. This was the trifecta. I do not write to denigrate other people, I do not want to be someone who finds amusement in the misfortune of another, and I do not want to forgo my moral character in the pursuit of content.
That is a New Year’s Resolution I will work hard to keep. That and wearing a gorilla suit with some regularity.