April 17, 2013


There is a man who walks very slowly in to my shop and buys coffee most days. He does so wearing a pair of sweat pants, from which he always manages to produce a crumpled wad of bills, or sometimes, just a handful of change.

These next two descriptors will sound like insults, but they're not meant to be anything but mere fact: He's both quite overweight and homeless. The first is obvious from a glance; the second I know from talking to him.

Naturally, you might feel bad for such a person, and that was my initial reaction as well. Though he always has money to buy coffee, he clearly doesn't come by much of it.

But before you go feeling sorry for someone, it's worth considering their opinion on the matter first. You might not like that life, at first glance. But then, you're not being asked to live it. He is. And, perhaps surprisingly, he's quite happy doing so.

He says he gets by, and that's enough. He doesn't work, but doesn't want to. He only has several pairs of sweat pants, but finds them the most comfortable variety anyway. He jokes that, clearly, he is not underfed. His days consist of napping, walking around town, and eating. Lawrence being Lawrence, a number of places are happy to offer free food to those who need it, so you can eat quite well without a penny. And so he does.

This contrasts nicely with a number of other frequent customers I have, who dress nicely, are at least middle class, and objectively successful. And yet they never have anything to say accept how miserable they are, how stressed their life makes them, and how fuck, is it the weekend yet?

I don't really know what I'm trying to say here. I'm certainly not telling you to take up a life of darma bumming, casting off the shackles of responsibility, spending your days eating free sandwiches and napping on public use couches.

I'm just saying, look around sometime. Ask yourself: What the hell am I doing? And why? Do I even like any of this?

Take a minute, really drink your coffee, and think on it. And do it in sweatpants.

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