The other day, I was walking from 7th Ave. and McDowell to 12th Ave. and Monroe for a meeting. I was near my meeting place, when this lady and her boyfriend were waiting in front of a home to rent, and she walked up to greeted me as the one they were supposed to meet. I told them, “I’m not the guy, but can I take a picture of you two. I have a blog and I capture faces and stories…” She bounced with joy and said “Yes!” as she began talking about the right place to take the photo. Her boyfriend clearly wasn’t down with it, but he passively and reluctantly followed; it was clear that he liked her, a lot.
Guys don’t pose for a stranger! I call that the power of attraction. Who and what we are attracted to have a lot of power over us and the environments we would be willing to move into. It made me think, what or who am I attracted to? What environments are my attractions moving me into? How am I being shaped by my attractions? What about you? Would love to have you add your thoughts about the power of attraction, and how have you been negatively or positively influenced by your attractions.
For this boyfriend, it seems that his attraction to her is moving him towards dying to himself and willing to be uncomfortable for the joy of another.
“I used to have 27 inch handles, but I tore my rotator cuff and I can’t put my arm that high anymore.” I told him it’s a really cool bike. He said, “Some f*#@ers stole my old bike, but I like this one more.” For Kenny, this was his way of ‘looking on the bright side’ after his bike was stolen. Oftentimes, we are just looking for something that will make us feel better. A new or better bike, a change of scenery, a fresh perspective on life and existence.
My interaction with Kenny was refreshing. His kindness was refreshing. His willingness to share a few minutes of life with me was refreshing. Our interaction caused me to reflect on the reality of how much we were created to know each other, and be known. Many of us will never experience a new of seeing things because we fight being known or truly knowing, because when someone’s life or experience becomes offensive to us, we shut off and stop appreciating their life, and in that moment, we feel superior. I’m praying for Kenny’s rotator cuff so he can ride a bike with 27″ handle bars again if he wants to.
Her and her neighbors don’t have a car, but she has a bike, and she was happy and thankful about that. Her community contribution is to pick up groceries at the store. As she approached me and saw my smile and that I loved her “get up”, she slowed down as I asked her if I can take a picture of her and her bike. She gladly stopped for the photo and she said, “Sure, I’m photogenic!”
She has a beautiful smile.
First thing he told me when I asked him if I can take his photo was, “I’m you’re guy.” He went on to confess to me that he’s a heroin addict and showed me his arms with scars from the needles. He also said that he used to be a carpenter, but can’t find work anymore. I told him that I am on a journey to capture images of people; rich, poor, young, old, and colorful. I told him that his life has meaning; that he has something to share with people; and that he is not defined by a single snapshot of his life. He loved that I wanted a picture of him with his cardboard sign even though it had some of his blood on it with his greasy holding it. His words were actually, “That’s the sh*t man!”
He left me with a smile and said that he’ll never forget this day. His sign was truthful: Anything did help. Looks like he needed a friend today more than anything else, and to be reminded that his life isn’t a ‘single’ story called homeless man.