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WhatWorld

Not in Kansas

Had such a PDX day. Walked out into sunshine and was severely under-dressed and cold. How can it be cold when the sun is shining? I guess I'm not in San Diego anymore. I waited for a streetcar and was entertained by a toothless wrinkled guy wearing a JESUS hat who said he'd move if the cigarette he was about to light bothered me. Since my back hurts when I sit I told Jesus hat to chill and I'd move pre-emptively. But then he still came over to talk, with his lit cigarette, and I decided I could be polite for seven minutes until the streetcar came. I learned a lot about his life. He's from Minnesota but came out here when his wife (ex, I assume) was dying. She's in better place. He was on the streets during the snow and said he wished his wife had waited to die until the Minnesota heat wave had ended and the PDX snows had ended. Jesus hat asked me if I was a believer and I said No, but asked if he found comfort in his faith. He had a lot to say about that. I just listened.

He asked if I would call his boss to find out if the boss was driving into town. I agreed but called it when more questions to relay came up. The streetcar came and I was hoping to get away, but he found me and talked at me. I was almost annoyed when a woman turned to Jesus hat and screamed at him that he was an undercover cop and that he shouldn't be allowed in America. She screamed about police for a few minutes and then got off the streetcar. Jesus hat was upset and I said something about it being a difficult life and he said he told me I was a nice person but I wasn't going to heaven. I said, I hope it brings you peace believing you will be taken care of after death. He wanted to shake my hand but I was having a gross out attack because of his yellow, smoky fingers and showed him the halachic handshake, which is where you offer your hand but don't actually touch. I invented this so I could "shake" hands with very Orthodox rabbi who had a good sense of humor. Jesus hat wished me a good life and got off the car and I went on to a thrift store and found one relatively valuable item and some stuff I did not buy (pictured). When I got to the Pearl, a woman in a wheelchair with a very cute dog (the woman was cute, too, but that dog was so adorable it was hard not to stare at him) was crossing the street at the same time a young couple were crossing. The woman of the couple was holding a stuffed animal that looked new and gift-like, and as she passed the woman with dog, said dog jumped up and grabbed the stuffed animal and shook it like it was 1999. Everyone stopped what they were doing in the middle of the crosswalk. The light changed, but nothing was moving. There was some pleading and yelling and cajoling to get the toy back from the dog. The dog was all wags and shakes and WHO ME? but eventually let it go. The couple brushed off dog spit and continued on toward a building, where presumably a child awaited a toy.

I walked on to Safeway, where blue blanket man (I know a lot about him, including his name, but will just call him blue blanket man because that's how he presents) smiled and said hello. I asked how he was and he said, "It's Sunday." I know what this means from having talked with him a lot over the years. He wears a blue blanket so he doesn't have any pockets and can't store anything he cannot hold. I once asked if I could get him a blanket with pockets but he said No. Without pockets, he doesn't have a place to store money or his bank card. He can only get money at the bank during banking hours, that is until he runs out of money near the end of the month (he's on SSI). On Sunday, he has no money because he can’t get it from the bank and he is usually hungry. I asked if I could get him anything and he asked for a McDonald's gift card. If they didn’t have that, he would eat macaroni and cheese and one chicken tender. I felt like such a yuppie because I didn't know how much it costs to eat at McDonald's and I had to Google the cost of a Big Mac to figure out how much money to put on the card. No point in getting extra, since he has no pocket to put the leftover card in. I did my shopping and came out to give him the card and he tried to give me the $3.00 he'd earned since I went into the store but I could not bring myself to touch the money. I sometimes will take money or let him pay me back as long as I'm close to washing facilities, but he knows me well enough now I can tell him I don't need it this week and he accepts my explanation. I do appreciate that he wants to pay what he can but I just couldn't touch the money today. I've seen what's under the blanket and some days it is just too much to think about.
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