A cloudy, dreary day. The calm before the storm. Although two to four inches of snow barely represents a storm. Usually, by this time of year, a few inches of snow is nothing to us city dwellers. In general, we are pretty savvy snow drivers by February. This year, however, is very different. We have had no real snow to speak of, so these two to four inches just may make us nervous about driving this year.
Towl Park is quiet and sullen today, like a teenager before a test that they are not really prepared to take. No fishermen or women. I don't blame them. After all of this seventy degree weather, a day in the high thirties feels teeth chatteringly cold and there's a bitterness to the wind. Even the ducks are tucked away today. We are all hunkering down, preparing.
The trees seem confused. Their baby buds are trembling, unsure, curious, scared. Soon they will be covered in a bone chilling white coat. There is a quietness to the air that seems strange to me. I figure out it's source...or nonsource: An absence of birdsong. The birds have been singing happily for the last two weeks. Now, they are completely silent. Waiting. Listening.
The tan truck is in the parking lot but the owner is either asleep or gone. I'm glad because I am unsure how to proceed next. I'm sure that I will not keep bringing money to this man. He can't just live in his car, can he? Well, it is nearly Spring, so maybe he can. But, I've determined that I need to know more of what this man's story is before I become further engaged in his life. It's that simple, that complicated, and that hard.
I don't give money to panhandlers, although this man has never asked me personally for a dime. But, the reason that I do not give money to panhandlers is simple. Most, if not all of them, lie. Most are not veterans trying to get home to Enid, Oklahoma to see their pregnant wife. Most aren't looking for food or work. Most are just trying to get money to support their drug habit. I know this because I know someone who works closely with the homeless and thus knows their true intent.
But, the man in the truck baffles me. He shows NO markings of a drug habit. Does not smell like liquor. There were no bottles or empty bottles in his truck that I could see. Yet, he doesn't seem too inclined to work, either. I know that it can be difficult to find work in the best of circumstances, but going to a job interview in rumpled, slightly sour smelling clothes can't be easy.
Again. I will maintain a wait-and-see attitude. If he wants to tell me his story, he knows that if the weather is decent, I am usually at Towl Park on most early afternoons on week days.
I will sit back and see what happens next. I feel as if I am a character in a book. Where will my story take me next? Any ideas?