A few weeks ago, I saw my favorite homeless guy standing on Mission St., the one with whom I had the exchange on Labor Day of last year, recounted here. I asked if he’d let me take his picture if I gave him five dollars, and he didn’t answer but instantly assumed a stern portrait-ready expression.
(Click photo to enlarge.)
Last week I saw him along that stretch, and as I dropped two dollars into his soiled paper cup, which is a sad sight—maybe he gets his cups out of the trash—he said something I couldn’t make out, which is often the case. I gather that he is quite religious and I think some of what he says is prayers.
On this day last week, there was also a lot of ambient noise, so whereas I usually just let him go on and smile and nod, I said, “I can hardly hear you.”
Man, with sudden, perfect clarity: “You can hardly hear me?”
“So many cars going by.”
“Like a conspiracy, maybe?” This with a big smile, as if he was purposely making a joke.
“Maybe!”, I said, also smiling.
A couple of days later, he said, “I remember you, from last week. I used to know someone who wore a hat like that. I called her Madam Fop. F-O-F-F. F-O-F. F-O-P!”