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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Deceiving Appearances

A kindly looking, impeccably groomed sixty something man sat quietly in the corner of a Sedona Laundromat, waiting on clothes to dry.

He was fiddling with a bag of chocolate chips, exercising patience and restraint with the ornery titanium-like bag that separated him from an indulgence in dark bliss. He was obviously familiar with the bag's notorious "hair trigger" design… one that often results in catastrophic rupture and sends precious morsels flying. 

While treading a Maytag's allotted time to dry our RV rags I had nothing better to do than to sneak peeks at my laundry mate and guess his "plight." My initial take was that he was homeless, but somethings didn’t fit. 

His grey beard and hair were trimmed… face, hands and clothes spotless. The same was true for his backpack and gear that never left his sight; not a speck grime or dust anywhere. His well used shoes looked a few sizes too big but stood out as being noticeably clean… right down to the edges of the soles. His dark blue Levis showed no signs of dust or wear, but like the shoes were too big, especially around the waist, as if he’d lost a good twenty pounds or so. It took a leather belt to hold the waistline in place. And here I was, looking like trailer trash compared to this “homeless” guy… in my disgusting Crocks, stained and thread bare shorts, a tee shirt that should have been in the laundry… and I’m sizing him up? What did my appearance say about me? I had to stifle a chuckle.

My G Q homeless guy had a large perfectly folded wool blanket firmly strapped to one side of his pack… a nylon shell jacket on the other. A tightly rolled ground tarp strapped to the bottom of his pack looked out-of-the-bag new. It was all too perfect… as if he had just walked out of the upscale second hand store next door. Perhaps he had, for his spotless attire and impeccable grooming didn't fit the stereotypical appearance of someone living on the "street." Even his hands were and face were clean, fingernails neatly trimmed, and there was no aroma of a smoky campfire about him.

Just as he had walked into the laundry he walked out, not to a vehicle or bike, just down the road… out of sight. I had almost struck up a conversation with him, but he never made eye contact. He kept to himself the whole time… made room in his pack for a few groceries, ate a handful of chocolate chips and folded the few clothes out of a dryer with the care and precision of an artist… right down to his tighty-whiteys.
Now I can’t stop thinking about him.   

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  1. could be he was just an old guy... Living the Hobo Dream... ;)

    either way... Homeless or Hobo... Living proof that austerity or minimalism... or having what "You" need... needs Not be groveling, filthy, despicable...

    Now... take his lot... and mount it on a Fine Motorcycle... HooYa!!!

    Kinda Awesome really! :)

    ***looks like we're heading for Chaco... by way of Zion? ;)***

  2. Fun to make up stories but doesn't really do any good to judge someone does it.

  3. Gaelyn... not judging in the negative sense... but all life is one of choices and judgments.

    You have to "Judge" what others do... to learn from their mistakes or successes...

    If you go in with the idea that what "they" consider success might be a mistake in your own life... and walk away with a smile on your face for the experience... all is good!

    But, If you exclude all "Judgment" you just about eliminate the chance to learn...

  4. walden creek rv steveApril 9, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    Dang- now you got me wondering about the guy!!! Hopefully you might cross paths again- opportunity lost I would say- it does happen to us all at times.

  5. CowBoy Brian,
    I get your drift...
    Chaco by the way of Zion? That's a big circle, but one I love.

    I think CowBoy aspires to be that guy in the laundry :))
    Something about him stirred me inside... I'm not sure what label to put on it even yet, but it's not one of "judgement" in the negative sense.

    Walden Steve,
    It was a missed opportunity... maybe it was supposed to be missed. And now I must live with my curiosity... and you too.


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