Continued from “Street Photography”
When asked if he still maintains contact
“Oh I used to quite a bit, but I don’t any more. They are across country and live in Jacksonville.
“Not even a Phone call?”
“Ain’t got the money to make a phone call every week or so. You know I do what I can, once in awhile I’ll do that, but I won’t call them collect anymore, cuz I don’t want to put that burden on them anymore. They’re old and my Dad is on a pension.”
“How old is your dad,” I inquired?
“Oh in his 70’s, I don’t think it polite to really ask him. “ he said with a slight chuckle. I could hear the level of respect he still maintained for his father, even after leaving home over twenty years ago.
On the subject of Marriage, Barry was proud to say that “Thank God” he had never been married. When I asked why, he responded that he “heard his Mom and Dad fight a lot. They love each other you know and it’s like the Irish and English, whatever my Mom is, you know, you get two Brits in a fights it’s kind of like putting ammonia and bleach in a pot together. “
Every once in awhile, Barry would go off on a little tangent and I would have to direct his and my own focus to the questions at hand. He would talk of some guys robbing a bank and how stupid they were. Little flickers of grandiose stories would seep through his conversations.
I was curious about his daily routine, “So what’s your routine like during the day? I see you in the morning”
“Oh it’s very busy Terry, it’s just like you know, you get up, roll your stuff up, put the pan out, sit down, it’s after six, can I sleep? Is a cop here?” he chuckled.
I started getting the sense that it was not too much effort to get going in the morning. As we talked, a few “regulars” walked by as they gave their pleasantries. A young woman handed him a candy cane and wished him a Merry Christmas. Somehow I felt I was intruding in his life and keeping him from making money, but my curiosity kept me focused. I was also struck by the generosity of those who passed. Whether it was a hello or some change dropped into his pan. I also hoped it wasn’t showmanship because I had a notepad and tape recorder visible.
Asking where he sleeps, “In the tunnel or once in awhile like someplace. I don’t really tell too many people where I sleep, you know a lot of people just innocently, casually mention it, then you have a whole bunch of people coming out. I don’t like having a whole lot of people knowing and then bringing a cop up there. They do a lot of stupid stuff drinking and doing drugs.” I pictured in my minds eye that it would be difficult for Barry to hide where he was going, his 100+ lb shopping cart would attract attention like a parade in July.
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