The first time I saw him riding his bike around town I assumed he was a teen with questionable fashion taste. He wears a faded yellow windbreaker and plastic bread bags on his hands. It took several sightings to realize he was homeless.
To be clear, I’ve encountered several homeless folks in my life. When living in DC, I passed a handful everyday on my walk to work. But here, in Montgomery, I’ve never seen even one.
He stands in the entrance of our local Kroger counting change. I watch three people walk past him. Each keeps his head down and diverts his eyes away from the man. Horrible, I think.
I step through the automatic door and walk straight towards him.
“Hi!” I give him my friendliest smile.
He looks up uncertainly.
“How’s your day going?” I push on.
His shoulders stiffen and he nods. He’s clearly uncomfortable and I’m feeling a little crazy. I choose to abort.
“Well, have a great rest of your day!” I say and march happily into the grocery store.
He smiles with a puzzled expression. I just know he’s thinking, “What in the hell just happened?”