It is all Perspective

Once upon a time, I lived on an island, it had a bridge to the mainland, so does it really count? It was created as a by product of the Inter-coastal Waterway which runs much of the southeastern US coast, so again does it really count? None the less, it was called an island.

One day I was on US 17 headed north just above Little River and a guy with a back pack, walking on the side of the road, caught my attention. Not really him so much as a small cardboard sign he had on the back of the pack. I wish I could tell you what it said, but I have forgotten as the rest of the conversation was so engaging.

As I drove him to Wilmington, some 20 miles past my turn, he told me his story. He had been released from prison a while back and could not find work in California, so he hit the road. How is life on the road?, I ask. Being on the precipice of my Zen journey I was full of wild ideas of renunciation and the wanderers life.

He went on to explain that it wasn’t too bad as long as you were smart about it. For example, the local homeless can be dangerous for an interloper and the police are always on the lookout for drifters. So he always made sure to parade right through the middle of town and catch the attention of the local police.

Once stopped, he would explain that he was hiking the perimeter of the United States and ask them where was a safe place to spend the night and get a meal. They would do one of two things; take him to the edge of their jurisdiction or tell him where to go and more importantly where to avoid.

The long and short of it was,

he was not an ex-con and drifter any longer; he had a goal and therefore the world saw him differently.

After taking him to the heart of Wilmington’s tourist district where he was sure to be spotted quickly, I gave him $20 and wished him well.

From their I drove directly to my favorite wine shop and bought an expensive bottle for my wine rack.

I was no longer a wino … I was a collector.

P.S. Years later I would pour that $200 bottle into the garden along with many others that went bad. Turns out, I am a much better wino than collector.