Friday, October 11, 2002

Being on vacation, I found myself at my my in-laws' house today with no hosts, no wife, no kids and an undetermined amount of time. The sun was shining, it was late in the morning, I'd had a good breakfast and already spent 1/2 an hour reading. Suddenly, a walk became the order of the afternoon.

Getting ready for my walk saw me reducing the baggage that I normally tote about. When I'm out for a stroll, I prefer to be as unencumbered as possible. That means taking only a light jacket, a credit card, a bank card, just a bit (not a whole handful) of change and a pair of sunglasses. I wore some comfortable, well-broken-in shoes and a non-descript jacket. i didn't know that my choices would come in handy today.

My walk lead me from an upper-class neighborhood through a rough part of Victoria, where some homeless people were on the street. Some were camped out in seldom-used doorways, begging. Some were wandering about looking confused, stoned or a bit of both. Some were engaging people, some were silent, some were trying their best to look worthy of pity. Of the ones that were engaging passers-by, hardly any of them bothered to talk to me. I think the reason why I was of no interest to them is because I didn't appear to be a good target. I had no visible signs of affluence, other than a recent shower and clean clothes. I had no flashy jacket, cell phone, backpack, vehicle, coffee cup or anything to lead them to believe I had anything to offer.

I was quite invisible. What a liberating feeling this gave me.

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