Friday, November 09, 2007

hobo say what?

You know, these days, I don’t talk to the hoboes too much. I’m mean, sure, Jesus Hobo is still out on the corner of Erie St. Cemetery some mornings, standing with his cup, right in front of one of this "It's ok to say no [to hoboes]" signs. He hasn’t really modified his pitch at all to take into account there's a sign 6 inches away that says a concerned citizen's money is better applied elsewhere, perhaps via donation to a homeless shelter. Nope. Jesus Hobo transcends such things and instead of saying, "Hey, this sign is bullshit." He still yells, "GOOD MORNING SIR!" And sometimes adds, "Anything helps."

I’ll say "good morning" to JH, but for the most part all I've been saying to his hobo brethren is "sorry, no." I am kind of sorry I can't help them for reals. I can help them get drunk, but I can't really help, you know? So I keep saying "no", almost to the point that it’s become reflexive. So yesterday, a buddy and I are at the Euclid Arcade for some China Wing lunch. We are bs-ing about his "moms" – the numerous older ladies in his work group – or I'm complaining about my hockey team ("Team, I'd like to introduce you to a good friend of mine, 'defense.' I don't believe you're acquainted. Defense – team. Team – defense.") or whatever and this old-timer (coke-bottle glasses, red winter cap, leather jacket, no noticeable hobo stank) comes up and mumbles something to me and I, reflexively, say "no." The words he said are starting to process in my head when my buddy asks, "What did he say?" And I say, "I don’t know. I think he asked for 5 bucks or something." But then Tony, the boy who lives inside my mouth, says, "Dude, he said something about his belt. I think he said, 'Can you do my belt?'" "But Tony, why would old school say that?" "Crazy old man? Not sure. Hey, fortune cookie."

As this inner-dialogue continues ("They are trying to steal the preciousssssss!"), I see Captain Belt going up to a bunch of people and asking them something. The grown-up Opie clone got this look of disgust on his face and said something like, "C'mon man." Watch out Belts! Don't get knocked the f- out. It occurred to me: maybe he is asking a bunch of dudes to play hide the salami with him. I started to watch closely and reading his lips I could tell he was asking people to "do his belt." Sure, he moved a little slowly, but he was in no way impaired. Maybe it was a really tricky belt with like a combination lock on it or something.

He disappears around the back seating area of the food court, out of my sight. We are giggling like school girls with the new issue of Tiger Beat. And suddenly he emerges . . . a look of "belt-done-ness" on his face. I'm not sure, but I can only guess that he found somebody to "do" him. If that's the case, Belts has got game. If you can find some random person to take care of your personal attire issues, you are a hero to me. Anyway, he goes over to a table of four women and says something to them, we think apologizing for asking to play pocket pool with him and then disappears into the distance – like a modern day Lone Ranger, with a malfunctioning belt. Touching.

Next week, the tale of Popeye’s Dad Hobo and the Emergency Manicure.

Labels: ,


Blogger Joe said...

It's been a while since you blogged about the hobo world. I was starting to think that Cleveland had shipped them all of to NYC.

5:10 PM

Blogger may-b said...

That's totally possible. Now that Giuliani isn't mayor anymore, they are allowed to come back.

11:52 PM

Blogger roger said...

You can have our hoboes. They are generally low-pressure and probably make more money than all of us combined.

4:34 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home