A few nights ago as I wandered home along High Street I came across a homeless man, a ‘bum’, a raggedy man, gently picking through the layers of urban garbage that filled the public rubbish bin. While stereotypical in appearance – wild, filthy hair, a bushy beard and raggedy clothing – I imagine he would have surpised many with his response to my query, “G’day mate. Are you short on a few dollars at the moment? ”
“No thanks.”, he said, in gentle and graceful tones, looking up while slowly continuing his search through the refuse, “I’m doing alright at the moment.”
We chatted briefly. I mentioned that I had seen him around over the last few weeks (walking along High Street, Northcote and Hoddle Street, Clifton Hill) and he replied that he had grown up just up the road – in Preston I think. We wished each other well and parted ways. It was a beautiful exchange and he is an inspiring character.