There is a homeless man who walks past my house every day. He whistles the same tune as he walks. When I hear the lovely melody of Edison Lighthouse’s “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes,)” I sing along in my head and have walked outside to talk to him a couple times.
If I am already outside, he always speaks with his daily dose of “news.” The first time I met him was on July 18th of this year when he told my moving buddy, “Steve” that he should, “Fuck the system. Overthrow that corrupt Governor of ours. Live life.” I wasn’t frightened of this short-statured street-walker and his outgoing openness, even though I had never met him and did not know if he was dangerous or not. He finished his meeting with us asking “Steve” if he wanted “to go check out the underpass.” “Steve” declined.
He wears mostly the same thing: a green shirt and destroyed acid-wash jeans. He has a pair of worn trainers that are about three sizes to small. His big toe stuck out of the right shoe until Wednesday afternoon when I left him a pair of my old shoes on the front step. I wasn’t home when he came past, but he said he loved them last night and that they fit, “fine and proper.”
He always asks how I’m doing with a smile from a mouth that has three teeth or so. His wispy grey-haired balding head, shows the effects the beating sun of the south shines down on him daily. His journey usually takes him by my house around 10AM and sometime between 11 and 12PM. Twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays, he walks past in the afternoon.
His views on the world are about as steadfast as the his schedule. He hates the government, hates lawyers and hates organized religion. He loves his meth, his “freedom” and the water he drinks constantly. The guy is almost always carries a water bottle. He says it is his key to life. I don’t disagree with him there.
Last night he came by about 11PM and was whistling his usual tune. I had just finished a drink and thought to myself, “I could go say hello. Why not?”
I walked outside onto my porch and said hello. He had the usual to say and I questioned his feelings on “Congress is a bunch of sissy pieces of shit. You know that, don’ cha’ boy?” I said, “Well, they are by far the weakest branch of government… wasn’t really supposed to be that way, but that’s how it ended up.”
I apparently said the right thing. The man smiled. He clapped. For a moment, I thought he might jump for joy.
“Boy, you sure gots that right. Well, I’ll be damned… maybe there is gonna be one good lawyer.”
I am glad this guy believes in me and my journey through law school. At least one other person does.
“The Supreme Court has always had the power, boy. They took it from da other branches with that big case. That uh… uh… Marbury Madison case. You know what I’m talkin’ ’bout, boy?”
Yeah, I think a lot of people know what he was talking about. But how many homeless guys know case law? I mean sure, it is a landmark decision that established judicial review and it has probably been the basis of every 7th graders social studies class since WWII… but c’mon… this guy knew that? Now I was really intrigued. I played dumb.
“No, tell me about it,” I said coyly.
“Well, it gave them damn justices all the power. It told the pres’dint to take the sen’tors and respreset’tives dicks and shove ‘em up his ass,” he said.
I seriously wish my 7th grade social studies book gave me that definition. I would have understood the case so much better. I mean can you really disagree with how this man characterized the case? I can’t. It fits exactly what my college judicial process class taught. Maybe there is some more colorful language, but all in all it is the same.
I finished up my conversation with the man and I bid him a good night. I decided to tweet about the encounter since I hadn’t really told anyone that I had been talking to this guy. A frequent visitor to the blawg and twitter mate, sjblawgs, was intrigued and we decided that not only should he be a focus of a post, but that some sort of daily dose and hashtag was appropriate for the gentleman I talk with so often. We started throwing out names. #NomadNorman #VagrantVincent and #HomelessHowie were some popular choices that were eventually decided against. sjblawgs had the perfect name. #VagabondVern – And it is a perfect fit.
So, I am announcing here that I will have a #VagabondVern installment on the blawg whenever something happens that is especially colorful or interesting. I can’t promise a ton, but I have hope that this will be a regular thing. If he keeps giving me history lessons then I am sure this will only grow. Keep an eye out on twitter for the #VagabondVern hashtag, as I am sure that will become very popular.
I want to give a special thank you and an “Alliteration-Alive Award” to sjblawgs. She is what made me actually post this and more importantly named my homeless friend.
I hope #VagabondVern keeps coming by. I hope my room mate doesn’t mind when he moves in next week, that I have befriended him.