I was strolling the neighborhood one early morning when I saw a homeless man coming toward me bobbing his head in a style reminiscent of Smokin’ Joe Frazier ducking and weaving as he advanced against Muhammad Ali’s lightning jabs.
The man was talking loudly to himself or some inner demon or both at the same time. As we passed I made eye contact, said good morning and he made eye contact and said good morning right back. Then he returned to his conversation.
Thirty minutes later I was walking under some leafy trees in front a house gone to seed when I looked across the street and saw a woman with long gray hair walking in the opposite direction.
She wore a light green t-shirt that had a big fat white outline of a circle in the middle. Inside the circle was white lettering in a groovy cursive font that read: I Have a Story to Tell.
I had never seen such a t-shirt and was immediately arrested by it.
What is her story?
Should I cross the street and ask her?
How often does she wear the t-shirt?
Is it made in China by child slaves who surely have a story to tell?
How many people ask her when they read the t-shirt? What percentage?
Does she actually tell you a story if you ask? Does she sometimes refuse?
Is it a story of recovery or survival or pushy, simplistic Christianity?
If a kid asks her, does she make up a tale about a socialist squirrel? Or a Bolshevik beaver?
If I wore such a t-shirt, what would the story I would tell to a perfect stranger?
How long would it last? People are usually in a hurry.
Think of all those people who pass this woman and never notice the t-shirt because they’re glued to their phones.
Wouldn’t it be a fascinating cultural event to bring 15 homeless people and 15 people living in homes, condos or apartments together, everyone wears the t-shirt, and see what transpires? It would be interesting to film such an event.