Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Bagman

I pass the bagman about every other day. He's usually on the street next to the bank on my drive to work. I call him the bagman not only because he's homeless, but because he's covered from head to toe in plastic bags. The only exposed skin are his hands and face; His beard is dread-locked and he's usually talking to himself. He carries with him a bundle of cardboard boxes which I guess may actually be his home. His attention is usually directed to the back of a cereal box which he is reading. From what I can tell it's always been the same cereal box.

I wonder what it was in his life that put him here on the street corner reading the back of the same cereal box day after day. Was he born with a mental illness that has given him struggles his entire life? Is he a war vet that witnessed atrocities we cannot truly conceive? Did his father abuse him? Is he a meth addict that has burnt his mind out with a pipe? If this is the case, I wonder if his suppliers ever laugh at him and his situation and continue to take what ever money he can scrounge up to buy his next fix.

I'm not sure why God has put this person on my heart. I've known several "regular" homeless people and have never given them a second thought. There's the woman who would wait for me to get out of my car so she could ask for 75 cents to ride the bus. There's another woman who always wants me to take her to another town saying that her boyfriend is beating her and makes me feel guilty when I don't. There is the bike man who is always riding his rickety bike around Council Bluffs. I remember them, but I've never really wanted to know them. I'm very interested in knowing the Bagman. I wonder if he likes coffee. I could take him coffee on Friday mornings and try and converse, not as a person trying to show charity, but as a person simply trying to be friendly.

I don't know if I'll muster up enough courage to talk to him anytime soon. My schedule is conveniently busy and time for such a gesture is hard to come by.

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