Somebody’s Story

I posted this before, and in a couple places,  but for some reason, it kind of haunts me, and I revisit it in my mind a few times a week.

I am standing on the sidewalk about two feet above the open front furniture stores to take this picture. I could have bought a small package of peanuts or chips for about ten cents.  There are probably cold cokes in the styrofoam ice chest, refilled once each day, about 14 to 20 cents each.
The cot you see in the kind of walkway space between two carpenter shops/furniture stores is also part of the public walkway.

Tiny SariSari store man hangs out here.

I saw the man I presume runs that shop step out a couple times and check the sidewalk to see if he had any customers.  He seemed youngish to me, in his 20s maybe.

The cot is ship shape, tidy, and in a cool, shady spot in this tropical sun. The Bambi beach towel or blanket is the kind of practical, unpretentious thing I expect here.  I see a lack of pretension.  It is just as likely a poverty that doesn’t have a margin for pretension of any sort, or perhaps it’s some of both.

The bottle is a bit sad to me. But what do I know? Maybe it is recycled. Maybe it was a shared birthday gift. Maybe a friend set it there for safe keeping.  Maybe it’s for urinating.  There are a hundred possible stories.
Sometimes I think of that book, How the Other Half Lives. Sometimes I worry about invading privacy.

Observations are one thing, but sometimes I wonder about the conclusions… does he live there, or is this just a smart way to take advantage of the shade and a slow afternoon, a place to rest when business is slow, and later hell go home?  Is this way of making a living a dead end or a single step between other things? A step up, a slide down, or treading water?
I do not know. But I know Who does. When I review my pictures I pray for the human souls represented, and I like to think that sometimes, somebody does the same for me as I pass by.

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