No coat for you!

Every weekday morning at 6:15 am a man stands on a corner a few blocks down from my apartment waiting for his bus.  I seem him regularly when I leave my place for the day or on the way back from a run.  He is often courteous, responding warmly to my “good morning” greeting when we pass each other.

He usually wears a white over-sized t-shirt, a baseball cap, shorts, white sneakers and white crew-length socks.   Although this monotonous outfit doesn’t seem all that strange in July, I was puzzled when it was all he wore it in January.  Heading out for a 20 degree run, I donned multiple layers of clothing, mittens, and a stocking cap.  He had on a t-shirt and shorts.  I would see his shivers (convulsions) as he waited for the bus in the dark with no coat.

I assumed he was simply too poor to afford such necessities as a winter coat (or knee-high socks for that matter), but over the months I’ve noticed that his brand-name shoes remain unstained and the bling around his neck is always present.  How can a person appear so poor, yet afford designer attire?



Filed under observation

4 responses to “No coat for you!

  1. Carly

    Poor priorities, mainly. Just like how a lot of people living in trailer parks have really nice cars. Or the people I saw in Baltimore coming to the soup kitchens had cell phones. Let’s hope that’s not the case with this person. Maybe he lost a bet.

  2. I agree about the poor priorities. I once went with a group to deliver Christmas presents to families who couldn’t afford to buy each other presents on their own. I was surprised by the conditions these people endured, but what surprised me more was seeing the contradictions: a family who couldn’t afford bedroom furniture had a PS2 (back when these were new) and many video games for the children; another family had the same PS2 but couldn’t afford to repair the insulation on their front door to keep their house warm in the winter. Back when PS2s cost over $200 and each game cost at least $50, it made me wonder why they didn’t put their money towards something more essential.

  3. Poor priorities or… fake brands. That could be it too. A lot of bling looks like bling from far away but up close it’s plastic and paint.

  4. Matt

    You spend way more on clothes than that dude did. In fact, the day you wore “multiple layers” you already outdid him. I bet you were donning some fresh New Balance running shoes some mornings too.

    That guy was trying to maintain a personal appearance that appealed to him. Do you think he had an entire closet full of the same T-shirt and shorts? No, he was wearing the same damn thing every day. The man deserves his bling. He probably figured he’d rather look good year around and endure the cold. He knows it’s cold, and I bet he thinks long and hard about his decision, but he endures. In fact, I bet he’s wishing he had a coat like that time that he was wishing he had his bling.

    And that family is having a lot more fun together playing a PS2 than they would be in a slightly warmer house. What do you want them to do, take up cross stitch? I’d love to be your 3rd grader son if we were poor. I’d probably get my ass kicked twice a day for not knowing how to kill zombies with a katana.

    Anyway, you don’t know that guy’s circumstances and it’s silly to judge his decisions if you don’t even have the balls to talk to him for more than a few seconds each day.

    Aren’t you worried he’ll read your blog? Might have to find a new bus stop!

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