He was standing on the corner in the busiest part of town today. The rain was thick and pretty cold and he was soaking wet, looking up the street. I thought he was trying to hitch a ride, or panhandle some money. He had a cardboard sign, an essential accessory for the panhandler.
I was expecting the “Homeless” or “Need Work” language on the sign, or maybe some sunnier destination other than my home town this rainy Friday, the start of Memorial Day weekend. Maybe “Newport” or “Portland”, or even “California”, though it had been raining there this week, too.
The light changed and I eased forward, finally close enough to read the sign.
Well, indeed. Hopefully most of us are hempless today. Its usually a state of existence I don’t think about much, much less advertise it with a hand printed cardboard sign on the main drag at noon.
Still, for this young man, it was a status that he needed to proclaim rather openly and loudly to the general motoring public, including the tourists already flowing through town on their way to the beach, or the nearby campgrounds. I had been stuck in traffic for a few blocks behind a boat and two campers, and a giant fifth wheel. None of them had stopped to offer the young man the hemp that he seemed to be desiring.
Part of me wanted to catch his eye, and make some sort of contact. Maybe even roll down my window and ask a question or two. I had plenty I wanted to know. But, he was deep in conversation with another young man with a backpack. And, maybe they were close to a solution on the hemplessness of it all.
The light was green when I passed by him. And, I couldn’t stop to snap a photo of him and his sign. After all, it was the first “hempless” sign I’d seen. I’m pretty sure of that. And, the gang at the office would find it hard to believe my story of what I saw on my lunch hour.
So, you’ll have to take my word for it, I guess. “Hempless in Tillamook” may become one of next year’s box office hits. I’ll have to get working on the screenplay. The whole idea just sounds more marketable than “Sleepless in Seattle”, don’t you think?