Driving home Bill gave into a hamburger, fries and a slice of cheesecake. Life was good, if not a perfectly smooth ride. There was a man hanging around the door asking for change as patrons left the restaurant. “Youse got change, did’n youse!” he yelled at some guy who tried to ignore his panhandling. “Hay, I saw youse got change, don’t act stupid with me.”
So Bill spoke to the panhandler that guarded the door, asking him where he had traveled. He looks at Bill with suspicion, and having decided Bill was not going to pay for his thoughts, he waves Bill away saying, “Youse blocking my audience.”
You need to know that Bill observes people. Something he learned to do while studying theater. The world around us is full of interesting people. Oh, not the ones who make the Style section of the Washington Post. Or the cover of some ‘guess who is dating who’ magazine you read the headlines of while standing in the grocery store check-out line, but would never buy; lest someone you know is watching. There are people around you that you probably never even see as you go about your daily life. This has nothing to do with being an aloof social class thing, because those who miss the people around themselves, miss everyone; the rich, poor, powerful, the humble. Blinders. “Blinders on their eyes; eyes that only look straight ahead,” as that guy Dave used to say at The Pub on Trinity Street.
What importance does seeing a panhandler have, other than personal safety? It makes your life more colorful, your memories more vivid; a value not expressed in dollars or time.
Once in an acting class, Bill’s professor was discussing method acting and said you should live the life of the character. The girl next to Bill gave a sly grin, raised her hand and asked the same question every instructor has been asked at this point in the lesson, “Does that mean to play a prostitute, I should work the streets?” The class laughed. Then later that day she was propositioned by the teacher, “Let me feel your tits for an ‘A’.” No one saw that coming; they had missed what he was by concentrating on what he was called. Notice the words professor, instructor, and teacher; all the same person.
In Homburg, Germany Bill once saw a ‘blind’ panhandler turn his head to follow a pretty woman that walked past; said a lot for what goes on around us.
(This short philosophical story (2015) is adapted from The Pub on Trinity Street (2013), and Through a Strangers Eyes (2005), are © by Steven S. Walsky. This short story, The Pub on Trinity Street, and Through a Strangers Eyes are works of fiction. Any resemblance of the characters to real people is a coincidence; there was no establishment in Baltimore, Maryland called The Pub on Trinity Street.)