A Little of That Human Touch
There are a lot of different types of homeless people. One is the isolative male.
These guys are generally older and do not interact with people unless they are fairly drunk. Our need for touch and for each other is very real. Gene was panhandling and looking for a bottle, but what he really wanted was a little of that human touch.
Don’t we all?
Gene is the type of hobo who produces tight smiles and quick moving feet. Around 6 feet tall, he has broad shoulders and chest with big hands. He calls himself a complete alcoholic and has the red-ruddy face to back up the claim.
I could tell when he walked up on me and another hobo that he was very lonely and very drunk. He seemed like a teddy bear then, but I doubt that is always the case.
My other friend, who appeared to know Gene, took off, right after he showed up. Despite the very grubby hands Gene dressed pretty well, plaid wool jacket over some earth tones. He is one of those guys who pulls off being handsome and bald at the same time. Despite how drunk he was, Gene was in search of another bottle.
Vodka is $4 a fifth now, a price so good one young friend of mine said he thought the liquor
store was trying to kill him.
Gene was also hungry for human touch. He has MS so his hands were not working so good. I counted out his change for him$1.65, only a couple of more bucks brings the bottle. I also lit his cigarette with a match. His hands cupped my match hand and I could tell this appealed to him greatly, not in a sexual way, but simply in a human touch way. At one point he actually asked for a hug. The next cigarette I handed him my lit butt so he could light his. He pretended like he couldn’t handle it, so he could get his hands next to mine again.
Gene is well aware he scares people. I think he part likes it but mostly hates it. He literally asks every person who walks by for spare change. Many have kind smiles and a no, a few have a quarter or less. but most won’t even look are way
and pick up the pace.
Gene plays the harmonica and says he is a, “real Musician” which I do not doubt. He wants to write a song with me after he gets his bottle.
He wanders around asking for money directing me to guard his change purse, which is ridiculous, but I do it anyway because he is in want of a friend.
At one point he thanks me for being so kind to him and that touches me, because he appears to mean it. Gene is letting everything and everyone distract him and ain’t making any money progress, so I return his change purse and continue my search for cans and bottles.
Gene’s condition brought out a gentleness in me I would like to keep full time, but I still have plenty of anger issues to get through so it may be a while.