Wash Your Sand

Today I learned that washing sand with soap is just a terrible, terrible, silly idea. Terrible.

Also, hermit crabs are the shit. They are genuinely the most disgusting creatures ever, but they’re so ugly that they’re cute. Arguably adorable. They’re also tragically flinchy, so I relate to them… and their grotesqueness. ALSO… I’m pretty sure John Carpenter had hermit crabs when he wrote The Thing.

~

I had the pleasure of meeting a family of vagrants today. But before you jump to the conclusion that I am terribly sarcastic – which I am, but not right now – they were really gems of people! Well spoken, they defied the stereotypes we place on our lesser societal members. Their pasts were evident in their nervous natures, missing teeth, sunken eyes and tired skin, but there was genuine warmth in their voices and a desire to mingle and interact with the part of life they left behind. They taught me how to pan for gold, taking special care to make sure I was actually doing it right. And we let our dogs play and wrestle.

I had seen them before at work in the Parks. They had taken the task of cleaning the river: mutual benefit as they collected over $40 in recyclables and purged the river of man’s filth. They told me that they live on the Parks, and that the Rangers hunt them. An awkward truth: maybe someday, sadly, I’ll have to hunt them too. But maybe if that some day comes, I can say I didn’t see them anywhere.

The man was tall and haggard. Blurred tattoos stuck in dumb contrast to his tanned and thinning skin, and his eyes had recessed into his skull so that the bags of tired flesh beneath seemed to support the balls of his eyes on dark cushions. At least two teeth were missing from his smile. He staggered. His opinions were concise despite the blatant lack of confidence in his voice, though I suppose that’s just the way nomads spoke.

“We lived behind the maintenance shed,” he laughed, “right under them. They kicked us out, but we don’t hurt anything, so we moved as close as we could. The Rangers were pissed when they finally found us. Right under them.” His voice drifted as he slouched on a rock. “I wish they’d leave us alone. I wish they’d see other. All they see is our past. We’ve grown.”

A delight to meet. All too often do we let opportunities of such simplicity pass us by. I do believe that we ought to more frequently take the risk to assume the best in people.

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