I live in the wonderful and volatile city of Joburg in South Africa. Sometimes I get the urge to write stuff down. This is where it lives.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I miss my old Homeless Talk guy

From 1997 to 2000, I worked in an area called Forest Town. Every morning I would drive past a guy selling Homeless Talk*. He was really good-looking - a bit like Blair Underwood - and sweet and friendly.

Every month I would buy a copy from him. And he would remember that. The rest of the month he would just wave to me as I drove past - never nagging me to buy again.

He became part of my driving to work routine, so when he disappared one day, I got worried that something had happened to him. Luckily he re-appeared a month later. I asked him where he had been, and he said "on holiday in KwaZulu-Natal visiting my family."

This amused me. The homeless guy could afford to go on holiday for a month. I couldn't do that!

Then I had another thought. Why, if you have family in KZN, would you choose to live the life of a homeless person in Joburg instead? Still a mystery to me...

In 2000 I changed jobs and no longer drove past that intersection. I missed my Homeless Talk guy and wondered if he was still there. Then one day last year I happened past that way and saw him still standing there. I waved all excitedly and was quite disappointed when he didn't seem to recognise me. It was with relief that I realised it must be because I have a new car now - he wouldn't have forgotten ME surely?

I now drive past another Homeless Talk guy every day on my way to work. It's just not the same. He doesn't remember when I've bought the paper or not and is constantly nagging me for money or old clothes. I've now given him half my wardrobe and have to admit I'm most amused when I see him wearing my trashy 80's green and black tiger print shirt!

But I miss my old Homeless Talk guy...

* Homeless Talk is a monthly newspaper that the homeless sell - similar to The Big Issue.