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Homeless person updates!

Yesterday I saw the most vain homeless woman in all my years of living. She was dressed in that “hobosexual” style – tattered goose down jacket, suggestively unzipped to mid-torso; tight-ass jeans; paper bags on her feet, from Victoria’s Secret – and she was preening herself at a plate-glass storefront. Because the store had gone out of business, and its lights were out, the window’s surface really gave the homeless woman’s reflection a smoky allure. The homeless woman was squirting some kind of “found” hair product into her plentiful naps. With each application of the product, she carefully ironed the ends of her hair between her hands, forming her hairstyle into a stiff, cracked platter, like the crown of a Portobello mushroom. So stuck-up, right?

As I passed, she didn’t even take the time to turn around and face me. She just caught me in the background of her reflection and asked for some money. When I wondered out loud what she’d use the money for, the homeless woman rolled her eyes, lowered her lids, and said, “my baby needs microdermabrasion.” Baby, you’re so vain you probably think this entry is about you.


Less recently, I was in my neighborhood, talking to a panhandler I’ve nicknamed “Tax.” We exchanged a few pleasantries, and he pretended to promise that he’d attend one of my future stand-up shows, and I pretended I’d hold him to his promise. Then, he held on to me a little longer and said, “You know that guy, Mike, who’s always out here? The skinny one?”

I took a mental inventory of all the recurring homeless people in my neighborhood. “The one with the eye patch?”

“Nah, that’s Kyle?”

“The guy with the new sneakers?” No. “Black Popeye?” No, man. “Oh! That skinny guy who always looks like shit is just going to fall off him with every step he takes?”

“Yeah, man! That’s Mike! Well, he died.”

Mike was one of the most bedraggled characters in my neighborhood. I’ve previously referred to him as “Sometimes Dirty,” because you just never knew what kind of state you’d find him in from day to day. The last few months found him on a consistent low i.e. a consistent high. He was often too disassociated to even remember to ask for money, or to find a paper cup in which to collect it. I saw him nodding off on the benches at our subway stop. And now, according to Tax, Mike had given up his life on the tracks, beneath an oblivious Q Train.

“I heard he was pushed,” Tax added.

It was at this moment that I realized, while I know nothing of New York’s celebrated socialites, and Page Six reports and Gawker posts are usually just a fuzzy, confusing jumble of words to me, somehow I have gotten my ear very close to the ground with matters of rumor-mongering within transient circles. I feel terrible about Mike, but I found it interesting that Tax not only was certain I’d know him, but wanted to make sure I knew all the gossip circulating around Hobo Junction. Does Street News have an equivalent of Page Six? Does Street News even have six pages?

I thanked Tax sincerely for the information and then, as I was trying to push past him into a corner store, he grabbed me once more and asked, “Hey man, can you help me out with a little extra tonight? I gotta buy my lady some hair product. That woman is boughetto, man.”

WE FIRST MET ON 10.06.2004

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