A funny thing happened on the way to the bike shop today. We were waiting at a red light to cross Aurora (here, if you’re curious) when a guy in a big truck hung a U-turn to pull up behind us. He opened his car door to lean out and address me.
“Can I give you five dollars?”
I figured I must have misheard him, but couldn’t reconcile the words into something expected like “Do you realize your kid’s backpack is dangling off your bike?” or “Is there a troll nearby?” (as happened earlier today, in Fremont).
At my puzzled, “Uh, what?” he spelled it out for me.
“You’re homeless, right?”
I was mystified and replied, “Sorry, I’m confused. Why do you think that?”
He explained it was the kids on the bike and he didn’t mean to embarrass me. Though, ya know, he didn’t have his glasses on. But really, were we OK?
I assured him we were OK, thanked him for checking in on us, and no, I wasn’t embarrassed. At this point I was starting to freak out about this guy in a big truck driving around without his glasses, but my husband is trying to convince me he was just trying to put my mind at ease. Hopefully I’ve helped change this guy’s perception a bit. I’m working on a more engaging and educating response for next time.
“Which would help more, clothing or money?”
I was so thrown by the question that I paused to let it compute. Was she asking if I needed charity? To a writer of some standing in this town? An author with his own bike rack in front of Powell’s Books? A man in the process of hauling donations to his kid’s school?
She shook her head, as if to dispel the insensitivity of her question.
“I’ve offended you. Take both.”
She handed me the bag of clothes before I could react. There was a $20 bill on top.
It’s nice to have company.
And I should admit I’ve been called homeless before–by friends. Completely different.
You know it's a good cargo day when a friend says you look like a bag lady. pic.twitter.com/76vff5aYaz
— familyride (@familyride) September 4, 2013
Twenty minutes later we arrived to G & O Family Cyclery where I immediately related the story to Davey Oil, Tom Fucoloro of Seattle Bike Blog, Kelli Refer, and Adonia Lugo and asked for an honest opinion if we looked homeless today. They assured me it was him and Adonia made a joke about his having forgotten his “glasses of classism”.
Heh, now I realize under all our layers the kids were both wearing their Hobo Inn t-shirts.