Thursday, October 22, 2009

Am I Homeless?

A few days ago I was standing outside of a Fred Meyer grocery store watching our bikes while James loaded up on produce.  We take turns watching the bikes in some areas, because everything we live off of is on these bikes.  It's all we have. Homeless? Hmm...nah.  Ok, so I'm outside this store on this bench wearing clothes I've had on for 2 or 3 days.  I haven't shaved or cut my hair in 6 or 7 weeks, and I've been tossing and turning in a tent most nights, so I'm not looking too healthy.  Ten minutes go by and a lady in her 40s or 50s approaches me.  There is no introduction.  She is staring at me and looks very uncomfortable.  I look back and say, "hi, what's up?"

Then it all pours out...
"My son, Simon, chooses to be homeless.  He doesn't want to work, and does drugs.  I hope he doesn't do the bad drugs, but I know he's doing them.  I'm not mad at him, but I want him to know he can come back home.  Have you seen him?  I think he's under one of those bridges.  Can you tell him that I'm not mad.  Just tell him that he can come home."

I let her go on and on for around 10 minutes, the whole time thinking about how much pain this kid is putting on his mother and then about how bad I must look if she thinks I know where he is.  I didn't even tell her the bike trip story, I just told her that I would keep my eyes open.

I didn't have more than 5 minutes to think about what had just happened when I was approached again.  This time by a local guy who had been living out of his bike for 25 years.  I think he had one good tooth, and that was about it, but he seemed to be the happiest guy in the world.

It's funny how we judge people by how they look.  I think James said it best yesterday, "the more people we meet, the more we are all the same."  I'm still not sure how to take all of this, but I figured I'd share.

Anyone have any thoughts or stories?

Thanks,
Steve

10 comments:

  1. when aliens attack it's going to be us vs. them. then we'll figure out that they don't like water and send the news via S.O.S. and kick all their asses!

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  2. I can't wait to hear the stories you guys tell over the next multiple decades about this trip. Maybe this lady was homeless?? haha I am in awe of you guys and I have so many of my co-workers and friends following the trip.

    -Kyle P.

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  3. love reading your journeys. my wife says I am living vicariously through the two of you. keep the pictures coming. We are keeping up with you here at Crossfit Asheville.

    Dale

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  4. Travel is the enemy of bigotry, narrow-mindedness, and prejudice. -Mark Twain

    It's the people that will make this trip memorable for you. Glad you guys are opene to your encounters. Can't wait to hear more.

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  5. 5th period has two good questions today. Did you ever see Simon? And like the lady's story do you think this bike trip has effected your parents?

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  6. 6th period: Since you bike everyday for about 50 miles or longer in harsh weather don't you ever want to give up and stop?

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  7. 7th period: Are you really a big Browns fan and if you are or aren't why?

    Also do you lock down your bike every night as you sleep?

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  8. Two minutes before a mile race at the field house at Kent, Nick Cordes asked James if he was homeless.

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  9. Q: 5th period has two good questions today. Did you ever see Simon? And like the lady's story do you think this bike trip has effected your parents?

    A: Haha, we never saw Simon. I know this has to be hard on our parents, but we talk regularly now that we are back into the lower 48 and are able to let them know where we are and how we are doing.

    Q: 6th period: Since you bike everyday for about 50 miles or longer in harsh weather don't you ever want to give up and stop?

    A: There are days when it crosses our mind, but as soon as it does, we take a break and get some rest. I think the most important part of this trip is to stay healthy physically and mentally. When one starts to go, it effects the other, so we just take a step back. It is a long race, and we just take one day at a time.

    Q: 7th period: Are you really a big Browns fan and if you are or aren't why?

    Also do you lock down your bike every night as you sleep?

    A: I was born a Browns fan, and I will die a Browns fan. As far as why, haha, I ask myself that same question everyday with no intelligent answer.

    The bikes are always kept by the tent. Sometimes we lock them up, but it's the raccoons that we watch for now. Those are the thieves who have taking the most from us.

    Thank you for the question,
    Steve

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