Monday, May 10, 2010

Flower Guy at the Intersection

Every day, the same homeless-looking guy, who’s probably not actually homeless, is selling flowers out of a bucket in the middle of the busy intersection on the Ohio River Boulevard where the McKees Rocks bridge meets Bellevue. It’s a big goddamn intersection. He is there in the middle of it every fucking day, without fail, trying to sell flowers in rush hour traffic. I go home from work this way every day, and I’ve only ever seen him sell a flower once. When the cars begin to move, he gets out of the way. When the light turns red, and they stop moving, he walks up and down the rows of stopped cars, smiling and holding out his bucket full of flowers. He seems like a polite enough guy, but it’s pretty irritating. I normally keep my driver side window down unless it’s just way too cold to do so. Really, it’s only that cold a few months out of the year. So most of the time, I’ve got the window down, and that attracts him. If I’m unlucky enough to be stopped at the light, on a nice day, with the window down and music throbbing, he’ll invariably stop by and give me that Hey man, want some flowers? look. I fucking hate flowers in the first place. I think they’re goddamned ridiculous, and a waste. Regardless, he’s nice. So I’m always polite. Earlier today, though, I was stopped at the intersection, window down, PJ Harvey playing. He stopped over, and I paid him no mind. I shook my head no. He stayed there, and started talking. I begun to get irritated, and shook my head no again. He waved me off, and stepped in closer. I turned my music down and prepared to get shitty with him. Before I could say a word, or even get my “mad face” on, he said, “Hey man. I just had the shit scared out of me. I was over there in the trees, takin’ a piss, and a cop pulls up. So I think he’s comin’ for me, and I try to stop pissin,’ but I can’t. So I finish quickly, and try to get my pecker back in my pants as fast as I can, sprinkling a little on my fuckin’ hands and pants. Then the cop asks me if there was an accident, and I said no. It wasn’t an accident, there was just a car broke down earlier, and they got it started, and drove off. Then the cop drives off, and doesn’t say anything about the fact that he just caught me pissing in the trees by the intersection.”

At this point, he was smiling ear-to-ear. The descending sun was behind his head, like a halo framing his baseball cap. He was completely filthy, wearing a day’s worth of exhaust on his skin, clothes, and beard. He was hugging a five-gallon bucket full of flowers. I was at a loss for words. The light turned green, and he waved me along while still smiling. I smiled back and told him to have a good evening. I drove home.

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