business is good for the ice cream man

Today I braved the world, left my apartment for the first time in eighty hours (therabouts) and while walking to a nearby ventana for a cup of Cuban coffee (the barista wore plastic prple gloves and was being hit on by a single elderly patron) I saw a homeless guy on a bike, mving up the sidewalk and checking out the insides of dumpsters. And I noticed he kept looking around, kind of agitated.

The streets are uncharacteristically quiet.

Two other people were walking hand-in-hand, breathing through face masks.

I wonder what the local homeless community knows baout all this. Would they be able to reduce the risk of exposure? I’m reading Hannibal by Thomas Harris and there’s a scene where a cop gives money to a homeless woman and asks if she’ll buy food with it. The woman says no.

“I’m gonna buy liquor with it,” she says. “You can find food. You can’t find liquor.”

If the homeless depend largely on charity to get by, and there’s nobody on the road to provide that charity, then they must have to depend on their own industriousness more and more, which means more wandering, more engaging with one another, more dumpster diving.

And here’s this dude on my street, dumpster diving for a pandemic, looking like he might not be aware that it’s even going on.

But what’s he gonna do if he learns about its severity, stop scavenging for food?

I also saw an ice cream truck making several rounds for the second time this week. We seldom see him in the area. The truck looks beat to hell, it’s covered with dents and dirt and from an aerial view is probably downright misshapen. There’s an issue with the speaker so the jingle that it blasts up and down the street is kinda warped, like an old music box that’s been dropped a lot. The driver is a very skinny guy in a baseball cap who looks pretty misshapen himself. There’s a younger man in the back who’s on his phone all the time–he’s the one who serves customers.

But I’ve been seeing the truck stop quite a bit. I’ve been seeing people burst from their front doors in all sorts of semi-dress, loose bills and change clenched between knuckles as they fumble with a belt or elbow their way into a t-shirt.

For the ice cream man, at least, business is booming.

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