Posted in Life


As I sat enjoying my coffee, I noticed a man just a few feet away busily tapping on a phone screen. He was seated at a larger table, one with four chairs. In each of the chairs was a bulging backpack. A pile of books was stacked on the table in front of him, along with a tote bag overflowing with plastic bags.

At first, I thought the backpacks belonged to friends of his who had stepped away from the table to use the restroom or pick up coffee. But no one ever came to the table. When the gentleman stepped away, once to buy a coffee, and again to buy a bag of chips, he took the tote bag with him.

Suddenly, he stood up and methodically moved each backpack, his books and his tote bag to a smaller table, one with room for just too chairs.

I never got a chance to see what the books were or what he was looking at on his phone. I didn’t want him to think I was being nosy, although that’s exactly what I was.

Homeless? Perhaps, but I’m not certain. Nowhere to go that afternoon? I guess.

So now I’m wondering, why didn’t I just get up and get a look at what he was working on? Why didn’t I ask him about one of his books? Why did I hesitate to engage him in conversation? He clearly wasn’t a threat. The worst that could happen? He could give me a dirty look. Or tell me to mind my own business.

So maybe that will be my resolution for this year. Engage the people I notice or walk by.

Like the gentleman with a prosthetic leg sitting in the parking lot in a lawn chair with a sign “Had hard times, living in a truck.” He was just sitting there (not near a truck) with his wife. I look with curiosity. I wonder what the story is. But I didn’t engage that day.

But next time I will.

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