Riding around downtown an hour before sunset, leftovers in my backpack. It's heavy and I'm having no luck finding the right moment to offer it up to any of the homeless folks who stubbornly occupy the little niches that capital allows. They all seem too scared to talk to anyone like me or in their own little worlds. I ride on near Trader Joe's and see a rainbow in the distance - how beautiful this land remains, even after all the damage the pale faces have done to it. I hear drums. Refugees from the Farmer's Market drum circle no doubt. I ride on over. It's a motley crew of free spirits, down n' outs, unemployed, people with unapproved habits.
I pull out the small tupperware container with the turkey and beef tortilla wraps salvaged from my union meeting. "Take some with you," they said, so I did, feeling bad I couldn't carry more on my bike. But only a minute ago, it felt like I was gonna strike out and toss it all in the garbage. Too much hassle to carry home and there's no way I can eat all of it myself I was thinking. But I heard the drums. It's horribly off beat and soulless as always - I think to myself that in poorer countries, the outcasts still retain their rhythm and soul but here, they've been deprived of everything.
I lean my ride against a pole and walk up to one dude sitting down indian style. As I get closer, I see his eyes are closed and he's either meditating or high but either way doesn't want to be disturbed. I turn to another guy on drums and offer up the food, he shakes his head no. I don't blame him, would you take tupperware leftovers from a stranger?
Then a young woman approaches. She can't be more than 23, and is affable. She takes a piece and pops it in her mouth. I ask her to take more and she does, thanking me. I ask if there's anyone else here who might be interested, and she points to an older dude who could be her dad, laying down on a rolled up sleeping bag. I look around at the 20 or so oddballs and feel a strange weight lifting off my shoulders. The sun is setting like a symphony of colors and nobody here really has to be any place in particular, and they're surrounded by lots of people, all in the same boat. What freedom! Only, they pay a very high price for it, what with the politicians and police who hate them the way all petty tyrants hate those who refuse to submit.
The older dude takes a few pieces. At this point, folks are beginning to notice me and approach with caution. I'm able to feed only two before the food is all gone. I kick myself for not bringing more. I make my way back to my bike, realizing I didn't lock it up, and feeling ever thankful that it's still there. The girl waves goodbye to me, her boyfriend hugs her and they smile. A hungry feeling washes over me as I ride home.