Saturday, December 13, 2008
And they said "He is a hobo."
This week and last week I did most of the caching on my own. The good half of goinggone had so many other things on her plate that she had no time to come along.
One of those days I spent in Coquitlam. For one cache I ended up in a small park that was situated right behind an elementary school. Moments after I got there the bell rang for recess and all of a sudden there were more kids than trees in the park. And it did not take long that they spotted me.
"Look, there is a hobo". " A hobo, a hobo. Come look at the hobo!"
The word spread like wildfire. Before long I was being stared at and commented on and analyzed by at least 150 kids, all at a safe distance of at least 80 feet; make that 25m...Some kids found it too scary to stay; they ran. Others took their place. It was an ever shifting group of gawkers and hobophobes! And I, instead of tactfully retreating, just stood there, watching the spectacle with what I am sure was a beatific smile on my weathered face...
But I did get a little scared as it went on. What if the principal or one of the teachers comes out, witnesses the commotion, and phones the police? Not that I had done anything illegal, but sometimes non-illegal people get picked up to tell their story away from those that have been upset by their mere presence.
In addition to that, it is true that I looked probably more like a hobo than a civilized city dweller. My coat had picked up lots of green from wet trees and branches; it would not surprise a lot of people if I told them that I slept in the woods in this garb...Neither is it surprising that people jump to conclusions.
I mean, what does it take anyway? I have a daughter who would regularly proclaim to all in view and within hearing, "I do not know this man. I am not in any way related to him. Quit looking at me. I am someone else, okay...!"
Then a little miracle happens. A boy, say he is ten years old, comes out of the crowd and walks up to me. He does not look scared. My smile had won him over!!!
"Do you live here in the forest?", he asks.
"No", quoth I, "I live in a house just like you."
"Then why are you here?"
"I like the woods, just like you do."
And away he walks and announces clearly to all present,
"He is not a hobo."
I did not really hear any sighs of disappointment, but they were in the air...they kind of wafted among the trees...Now there was no hurrying back inside and tell the teacher; nor wait impatiently for school to end to get home and share the horrible news about the hobo.
The hobo that almost was.