If Not for the Comfort of Strangers

A swelling wall of ominous black clouds loomed ahead of me as I pulled off the highway and headed down the exit ramp.  The forecast was for snow and bitter cold for the next several days and it was obvious the weather forecasters were getting it right.  Several cars were lined up at the red light at the end of the ramp and their exhaust was making perfect parallel plumes of white against the angry grey sky—it was the dead calm before the storm.  I could see a street person holding a cardboard sign and walking from car to car up the ramp.

His presence was nothing unusual; I had been seeing him at this ramp for the past couple of weeks.

Continuing down the ramp, and coming to a stop behind the 10th car, I had the usual conversation in my head about whether I would make eye-contact or not; and how, no matter what, I would not give him anything—as usual.  I did not have a good reason for why I handled the “problem” this way, it just seemed easier to make a decision one way or the other than to come up with something that made sense in the bigger picture.  For me the bigger picture was just way too scary to contemplate.

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Thanks, Charlie

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