Friday, April 15, 2005

seattle, rainy seattle

did i mention i forgot to pack an umbrella or any sort of rain-proof paraphernalia on my way to seattle? today we set up the booth and then meandered down to pike's market for a steaming cup of seafood stew and a grilled salmon sandwich. my colleague charlie and i then diverged- with him going back to the convention hall and me going into the gap and scoring this uber-cute raincoat i've had my eye on for cheap.

as i walked to the gap, i noticed this guy i thought to be homeless panhandling from his wheelchair. i walked by him like everyone else, but noticed a softness, a gentle timbre to his voice which intrigued me. i exited the store, new raincoat on my person, ready for the hotel shuttle to pick me up. so there we were- me and the homeless guy underneath the sephora awning.

i wandered over to him and asked him if he lived outside and what he was doing panhandling. he introduced himself as rodney and i noticed his hands were shrunken so he couldn't hold anything. he explained that even with ssi if he makes over $80 a day he won't get disability and his caretaker alone costs $1800. he lives inside but panhandles to help augment his day to day living expenses because he can't make ends meet any other way. he does some web design on the side that brings in a little cash- but not enough. he laughed often; he laughed often- this guy who is sitting in a wheelchair out in the chilly air as it rains all day long, kept finding things to laugh about. we got along marvelously. he told me how God watches out for him and how grateful he is for things like a roof over his head- he remembers days when that wasn't the case.

i had no cash and i offered to go buy him lunch, but he had already eaten mcdonalds. he then mentioned he would love an iced mocha, which made me laugh and shiver, but off i went to the obligatory starbucks across the street. outside of the starbucks were all these twentysomethings and teenagers- christians loitering around in hope to talk to people about jesus- you can just pick them out of a crowd, though it helped that they were reading out loud from the Bible... i bought the mocha and a piece of almond poppy loaf for him for later and headed back out into the dripping atmosphere. the cute christians smiled at me and told me to have a great day, to which i responded, "which church are you from?" and the girl was surprised i knew and flattered... kind of funny scenario really.

so i walked across the street and placed the mocha on an armrest for him. a guy was talking to him and reading a Bible passage to him- the same dude told me i would be blessed because of the kindness i was demonstrating. and i'm thinking in my head, i'm just glad i mustered up the nerve to talk to rodney in the first place since i haven't been in the most extroverted mood lately and i enjoyed connecting with him. out of my mouth came the thought that since God blesses me, i want to bless other people. and really seeing rodney suck down slowly this small token of coffee chocolate goodness did make me feel warmer inside, even as the rain continued dripping down.


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