Last Updated on April 20, 2020

This morning, I went shopping to a nearby supermarket. While I was getting the bags out of the car trunk, I heard a voice behind me. It was a man with white hair and beard, looking at me as if he was about to ask for directions. He was smiling, I smiled back and prepared to tell him that I don’t know the neighborhood (although I’ve been living here since 10 years ago).

Surprisingly, he asked me to give him some money. I asked him why, and he told me that he wanted to buy a bread. I thought that was enough reason for me and I gave him money for the bread, while whispering that I could use some money too, but I don’t ask other people to give me. Then he started telling me his story, how he is currently homeless because he was stupid enough to borrow money which he wasn’t able to return, thus being forced to sell his apartment. He looked rather clean and he was not smelling. I asked him where he was sleeping and he told me that his night lodging was in the nearby park. Winter hasn’t come yet, but it is already very cold here, the wind is blowing quite strongly, so I can imagine how pleasant it can be to sleep outside. He didn’t seem to be bothered by that. His strongest wish was to resist like that for 8-9 more years, so he becomes entitled to get a pension from the state.

I asked him how does he manage to eat every day. The answer was obvious: he was looking for people parking their cars, asking for money to buy food, just like he did with me. I noticed that it probably takes a very long time to gather the money for a day’s food, as everything got crazy expensive over the past years. He agreed, and he said that now he’s acquired the experience to filter the “potential clients” – he said that men are more merciful than women, and that people driving expensive cars were more willing to give him something, rather than those driving cheap cars.

During the whole conversation, the guy was smiling, and he was telling me all that as if it was absolutely normal to sleep in the park and to get washed in restaurants. I bet that when he was young, he would have never imagined that he’d be doing all that at 51.

Isn’t life strange?