Dangerous Compassions



I found a dime on the ground by this fish market in Eugene, Oregon.  I wasn’t sure it was a real dime, but I picked it up and put it in my pocket.  Yes, seems real.

It made me think of that song by Bob Dylan that starts, “Once upon a time, you dressed so fine.  Threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?”  The song is called Like a Rolling Stone.

I guess it’s my favorite dime song.  It’s about a fall from class, someone becoming poor and losing housing.  Yes, somewhat appropriate to my situation!  I’m not living on the streets, but I’m much less housing secure than any other time in my life.

The speaker seems to find the fallen from class lady despicable.  Maybe because she used to look down on people?  The speaker is noting the irony and seems angry.  Maybe she was a jerk to him before.  But he could be an unreliable narrator.  Some people think any woman who says no is bad.

I was walking down the street, wearing my flower crown, yellow clothes, old people sunglasses, ugly black shoes I was given in Ojai by a stranger for caring for the chickens.  And I was belting out all I could remember of the Bob Dylan song.  I only remembered the first stanza and one other.

free market

Then I saw a sign about a really free market taking place right there from 12 to 5.  Wow, it was around 3pm.  So I went into the little courtyard and saw the little free market.

They had a few clothes and shoes.  And they had a table with food bank type food.  It was being put on by an agency, so two straight-laced looking white people were there, with clipboards.

I looked at the foods they offered and stopped singing to say hello and ask for oatmeal and rice.  “Oh, and could I have those white beans?  White beans are my favorite,” I said.

The guy weighed the foods, wrote something on a clipboard, and gave the foods to me.  I said thank you and starting singing again.

It was like a dream.  Magical courtyard with the exact free foods I was hoping for, clipboard people…  “And I was wearing these ugly, clompy shoes, and a flower crown.  What kinda weird dream is that?”


Then I reunited with Ming.  He had bought some fish–there’s a whole reason for that.  It’s about nutrition needs and my joints–I will tell you another time.

I showed him the government oatmeal, rice, and white beans I picked up at the giveaway.

“Yeah, I was singing this Bob Dylan song, and I probably seemed pretty crazy.  My crazy homeless person act was convincing,” I told Ming.  “Oh wait, it wasn’t an act.  No wonder!”

Ming assured me that he loves me and thinks I’m a super valid person.


He took this picture of me afterward at my request.  We were walking by a church and cafe, and we saw these beautiful dahlias.  Please note my sunny, crazy outfit.


By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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