I had seen him earlier as I took a break from the gig. I was walking outside on a street in Big City America. He was just settling in for the evening, some sort of bed laid out in an oddly appropriate space. He had a book with him. It was his sign that made me stop and think, just for a short moment, and then I was walking and back at the big fancy party with the live band and the smartly dressed party goers and the plates of huge shrimp piled high, the filet for dinner, the celebration of family and love and the future.
I finished up my work and headed to my car. He was there, sitting wrapped in a blanket. I stopped.
He looked up.
“Can I make a photo of you.”
And so we had a bit of a conversation. His name is Steve. He is not from the place where he is now, his circumstances are sad. He is well-spoken and polite.
An increasing number of young people are homeless, living on American streets. I don’t have any answers for them, and I have nothing to add to my time with Steve. Posting this has nothing to do with pity or compassion or making any sort of a point about how to live. I suspect that most of these young people are addicted to heroin. Steve and I didn’t talk about drugs.
Steve and all of the other homeless Americans are part of the landscape. They live and breath and die. No doubt they are dealing with difficult challenges. You see them. You have opinions about them, maybe you have compassion for them, maybe you hold them in contempt. They live and breath and die.