I'm leaving the Wild Hair (a sports bar in the Vista) and thinking that I really need to get around here and take some pictures (you know, around the Adluh Flour factory -- very photogenic in a run-down seedy sort of way), and I hear, "Hey, brother, you got a minute?"
So then begins that internal conversation, "Oh no. Not another homeless person. I don't have time. Besides, I really don't want to. Yes yes, but what about the Letter of James? Oh geez shut up already you sanctimonious brute." Sometimes, I pretend not to hear, especially if I'm in a hurry. Sometimes, I force myself to stop and talk. And listen. No money. Yes I'll get you food. Maybe give you a ride.
I turn around. It's Marion. Marion stops by the Center often. He's always smiling, always polite. We let him take a few cans from the Harvest Hope collection, and scrounge up a meal from leftovers. He's always grateful. I've given him rides to the boarding houses down by Five Points (you know, the other, "bad" side of Five Points) before. (This one time, he tried to get us to fill out a prescription for him. It turned out to be for Viagra. Sorry bro! No can do!)
"Oh hey Brother G" (yep, that's what he calls me) "Can you get me a couple of subs at Jimmy Johns down there?" Sure thing. He tells me he wants five bucks to stay at the His House mission tonight. (Didn't know they let people stay there!) You know, they let you stay for 30 days, but then you have to wait two weeks before you're eligible again. "You need a ride?" Nope. He got an old bicycle the other day. He's got some construction work tomorrow. "And I want to get up to go worship." (Worship? On a Saturday? Seriously Marion, no need for stories.)
We chat away as I order the subs. The staff at Jimmy Johns looks at him suspiciously. And then, as I wave goodbye, he says, "Hey, don't mind me saying this Brother G. You've put on some weight since I saw you last."
But. The truth shall set you free. I'm getting me to a gym.