I like to joke about how I look homeless with my old painting clothes and seeming worldly possessions at hand when I paint on location. I now know for certain that that look is no joke.
Recently I was toting my painting gear under a bridge next to a creek. I wanted to paint the underside of the old Rogers Street Bridge in Waxahachie. Approaching me were a couple of people walking along the hike and bike trail. The woman looked a bit like she may have experienced a few hard knocks along her path in life-just sayin'. As they got closer I heard from above, "BEEN THERE, DONE THAT."
Oh, how priceless those words were to my ears. Confirmation complete. My day was made. Another funny story to share with my non-homeless art-types of tales from the field.
But what to say in response? I had to say something. I mean, she was a kindred soul reaching out to a fellow club member. Should I just give her a knowing-nod of solidarity followed by a "I hear you sister?" Or should I try to explain my situation, risking her feeling embarrassed?
Then I heard her ask, "is that your place?" Well, at this point I have to come clean, as it were. I can't claim this down-by-the-river-under-a-bridge as my "place."
"I'M PAINTING," I shouted up to her and her companion, motioning with my hand as if using a brush, trying to explain myself. Immediately I could see her spirit deflate and I knew that my homeless card had just been turned in.
She walked on without saying another word. If ever there was an opposite of "fifteen minutes of fame" then this was it.