miércoles, 20 de septiembre de 2017

There's an abandoned shopping cart in my brain

You know those guys in action movies who sit down at a restaurant and then remember what everyone was wearing? Well, I'm that guy. I can't take on a dozen ninjas like those filmtastic badasses, but I try to never sit with my back to the door, pay attention to exits when I'm somewhere new, and constantly look at places and people. Sometimes it's for safety, but also because stories are everywhere. In any case, last week I left home and drove past a shopping cart stuffed with someone's life. You know what I'm talking about: clothes, food, and other assorted things that let you know the owner of the cart takes everything he or she owns wherever they go. At first, I didn't think anything about it. The homeless person could be somewhere else, maybe copping a fix or sleeping in a hidden shade or maybe taking a crap while the rest of the world went about its business. However, when I drove back, the cart was still there.

The next day when I went to the gym really early, the shopping cart was in the exact same spot. That was weird. Its presence set off a few alarms. Homeless folks don't stick around the middle of the street if there's no place to lay down or a busy intersection where they can get some moola. They also don't leave everything they own by the side of the road and walk off into the sunset. In any case, that afternoon I saw the cart in the same spot, untouched and cooking under the Texas sun.

The third day made it obvious: the owner of the cart was gone. The possibilities are many. They go from the awesome to the grim. One end of the spectrum could be they scratched the right ticket and won a ton of money. The other end is their body is now worm food in some gutter or abandoned house. That afternoon, however, there was a change. Someone took the two heavy coats that sat atop everything else in the cart. You know the kind I'm talking about; those coats some unlucky folks use when it's 25 degrees and keep using when it's 90 degrees. The point is the missing coats shifted my perspective. The developing narrative was no longer about the missing owner.

That afternoon, the bags of food were gone. A few other items followed. Every time I drove by, something else was missing. I never saw anyone taking anything and I doubt folks were jumping out of their cars to grab stuff from the car and take it home, so the disappearing things were probably going to other street denizens. That fucked me up. I've stolen toilet paper when things got rough and I've eaten my share of Ramen, but I've never had to take cans that had been cooking under the sun for days from an abandoned shopping cart by the side of the road. It made me think about that line about one man's garbage being another man's treasure.

The cart is still there. I walked past it yesterday and peeked inside. The only item left is a grimy black tarp. The rest is gone. Redistributed "wealth" or whatever you wanna call it. However, the story of the cart, whoever left it there, and the folks who came after and scavenged what was in it are now all in my head. They make me grateful in fucking rough times, and they are asking to be turned into part of a story. I'll do just that, but first I had to share this and tell you to keep your eyes open at all times because the streets operate on many levels, and missing or ignoring what goes down in one of those levels means you're not really seeing the whole picture. Stay awesome, lovely creatures.   

No hay comentarios: