Contrary to word on the street, I work very hard to ensure that my wife remains housed. We found out about her street rep just recently. She was walking down U Street, carrying various attributes of her profession (paint box, palette, etc.), wearing paint spattered clothes, weaving her way through the crowds around Local 16 and Stetsons, when she happened by a homeless man. He was about to ask her for money, when he changed his mind and apologized. Then, reaching deep into a grimy pocket, he took out a couple dimes and actually offered them to her.
My wife had a hard time explaining to him that she didn’t need the money. Telling him she always dressed that way was not convincing, for he always dressed that way, too. She said she’s an artist, and he said, yeah, he is too. I’m just coming from doing work, she protested. I’m sure this guy is used to seeing people dressed in non-filthy clothes coming from work, so he was rightfully skeptical. Finally, he understood. Perhaps it was her perfume.
She told me what happened as soon as she came in. I laughed.
I wish there were a better ending to this story. I wish I could say that we rushed back out there and bought him dinner or at least gave him some money. But, instead, we sat down and ate our food and drank our wine while he continued to rattle his coin cup at the bus stop.