You don’t meet much street begging in Ciudad Vieja. At home, in my part of town, we have panhandlers standing at traffic light medians at major intersections, or by freeway exits.
Turning a corner off Colon street, near Roberto’s antique store and studio, I happen upon a sleeping man in an alcove. He is out of the way of pedestrian traffic, looks comfortable, isn’t causing trouble. There are no wine bottles. There is no cart packed with clothes and bags of groceries to show he has been on the street a long time. His clothes aren’t pressed but they aren’t dirty.
His chest moves as he breathes.
There are similarities between sleep and dying. One you wake from, the other you don’t. One is temporary and the other is permanent.
I debate taking his photo. If an awake person doesn’t want their photo taken they can shake their finger or say no. He has no say in his present condition.
If you snooze, you lose.
Being able to sleep on the street in board daylight, in the middle of a big city, shows a level of trust I don’t have.
Voluntarily leaving my home, volunteering at homeless missions, people who have no home intrigue me.