Paul the Homeless Guy

21 Sep

Yesterday as I was waiting at the bus stop after work I was randomly looking around enjoying the pretty day.  When looking around, I tend to people watch more than anything.  Without realizing it I zone-out and will stare at someone and snap back in it when they catch me staring.  This. Always. Happens.  I don’t know why I do it but I just can’t help it.

As I was gazing at the scenery I saw a man standing on the corner.  He was a little rough-looking and I assumed he was homeless but sometimes in Downtown Houston, you just never know.  I was doing the zoning-out staring thing, YET AGAIN, when he turned his head and made eye contact with me.  We both did awkward smiles and I turned around to face the other way.

Striking resemblance to this guy but with shorter hair 

About a minute later, I see something in my peripheral vision.  I look over and this homeless guy is leaning forward, about 3 feet from me, staring at my face.  I turn my head to face him and said, “Hello.”  He said, “My name is Paul.  Can I ask you your name?”  I hesitated, trying to decide if I should actually tell him my real name or make one up, then told him my name was Blair.

Paul: “Bellaire?”

Me: “No. Blair.”

Paul:  “Are you saying Bellaire? Like Bell-Air?

Me:  “No. I am saying Blair. Like the Witch Project.”

Paul:  light bulb goes off…”OH! Blair!”

Me:  “There you go.”

When in doubt, always refer to the Blair Witch Project.  You’d be surprised at how often I have to resort to this method of pronouncing my name.  I would like to think I enunciate properly, but I guess not.

Paul:  “What are you doing?”  (as I am standing at a bus stop…)  “You waiting for a bus?”

Me:  “Yeah. Just waiting to go home.”  Inserts foot into mouth.

Paul:  “Oh. I’m just walking around because I don’t have a home.”  Way to make me feel terrible, Paul.

Me:  Trying to make up for saying I have a home when he doesn’t… “Well it’s a good thing that it’s such a beautiful day!”

Paul:  Looks up and around.  “You know what, it is a beautiful day, but you are more beautiful than this day.”

Me:  “Aw. Thanks, Paul.”

I probably would have been flattered if I wasn’t convinced he was crazy.

By the way, I am standing in a line of people who ride my bus.  The guy in front of me has turned around to face us and is looking at us with very cautious eyes.  Two women behind me have backed away about 5 feet and have looks on their face that say, “Glad it’s you and not me.”  Thanks, ladies.

Paul:  “Blair, can I tell you a joke?”

Me:  “Sure, Paul.  I love jokes.”

Paul:  “There’s this Indian tribe. Ok?”

Me:  “Ok. Got it.”

Paul:  “They are called the Fuccawee tribe.  Fuccawee.  Ok?”

Me:  “Fuccawee. Yep.”

Paul:  “Well they are wandering around in the woods because they are lost.  The chief climbs up a tree, looks around, and yells, ‘Where the Fuccawee?’  Haha get it?  Like Where the *insert expletive* are we!  HAHAHA isn’t that goofy?!”

Me:  “Yes that’s pretty goofy, Paul.”

Paul:  “Blair, you are such a nice person for talking to me.  No one ever talks to me.  You just made my day.”

Me:  “Well good.  I am glad you are having a good day.”

The lady behind me sneezes and he says “God Bless You!” to her and she just smiles then glares at me with eyes that are yelling at me to stop talking to him so he will go away.

Paul:  “Can I tell you another joke?”

Me:  “Go for it.”

Paul:  “There’s this couple, right?”

Me:  “A couple. Ok.”

Paul:  “The couple is Mr. and Mrs. Carrot. Ok?”

This is the picture you get when you google for images of “Mr. and Mrs. Carrot”

Me:  “The Carrots.  Got it.”

Paul:  “Well Mr. and Mrs. Carrot like to go on walks.  They are always walking everywhere they go.  One day Mr. and Mrs. Carrot are walking across the street and Mr. Carrot gets hit by a truck! It’s a big mess.  Mrs. Carrot is screaming and freaking out because he is really hurt.”

Me:  “Sounds a little morbid, Paul.”

Paul:  “Well that’s because I’m not done yet.  Anyways, the ambulance comes and picks up Mr. Carrot and takes him to the hospital.  Mrs. Carrot sits in the waiting room for a few hours when the doctor comes out and says to her, ‘Mrs. Carrot, your husband is alive. But I’m afraid he’s going to be a vegetable for the rest of his life.’  HAHAHA get it? Because his name is carrot and carrot is a vegetable! HAHAHA”

Me:  “Ha. That’s pretty funny. Good one, Paul.”

My bus FINALLY pulls up and I hear the woman two people behind me in line say, “Thank God.”

I tell Paul that this is my bus and that I have to go but it was nice meeting him and I hope he has a wonderful day.

Paul moves to stand in my path so I can’t walk straight to my bus.

Great.  What did I just do? Why did I have to be so nice and entertain this crazy, homeless guy?

The lady that was excited that the bus finally arrived is a regular that rides with me so she knew this was my bus.  She grabbed my arm and yanked me to the side yelling, “Come on!  This is our bus!”  Then she turned to Paul and said, “Sorry! She’s gotta go!”

It made for an interesting afternoon.  You just never know what, or who, you will come across in Downtown.

As uncomfortable as I felt while talking to Paul (mainly because he was moving around a lot, entering my personal space, and I couldn’t stop staring at his teeth) I’m glad I talked to him.  He wasn’t the typical homeless guy walking around asking for money.  He just wanted someone to talk to.  Plus Paul was a comedian so that helps.

Better hurry up and snag me up, Joseph.  You may have some competition! 🙂

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4 Responses to “Paul the Homeless Guy”

  1. Morgan September 21, 2012 at 11:03 AM #

    I know it isn’t always safe, but it never hurts to be a compassionate and genuine person to those who are less fortunate. I think that you may have made his day, and were a blessing to him. Even if you only talked to him for a few minutes!

  2. Neva September 21, 2012 at 11:06 AM #

    I know exactly who you are talking about based on the look alike picture. Morgan and I actually passed him this morning. He has NEVER ONCE asked me for money and I have seen him MANY times. I’m glad you were nice to Paul. I’m inspired.

  3. Gwen September 21, 2012 at 3:24 PM #

    “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40 Blair, I am so humbled by your kindness-you may think talking to Paul was just a chance encounter, but you never know how lifes can be touched and changed by something as small as a simple conversation and a smile. Bless you for caring enough to do both!

  4. mbneeley September 21, 2012 at 10:05 PM #

    Each time I read about your encounters with the homeless, I can’t help but think of the ” Christmas Gift” by Helen Steiner RIce,

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