Backpack man.

Location: ///triangles.comforted.spinal
Weather: Sunny 25C. Mood: hyperglycaemic

“Hey mate!”

I’m walking down the Main Street of Daylesford. A rough voice right behind me. “What brand of backpack is that?”

It was a gorgeous morning. Kelly and I had just walked around the lake and into town to check it out. A couple of kilometers.

I turn around and within 1.4 seconds have made a thorough and through-going judgement of the person standing before me. Scruffy beard. Old battered cap. Large orange backpack. A radio scanner and a handheld transceiver attatched to respective shoulder straps. Hung from his neck a string flask holding a half-empty bottle of coke. A clip on his belt holding a large Ferro rod and a bazillion miscellaneous keys.

1.4 seconds. I have intuited his socioeconomic status, speculated his personal hygiene routine, assessed his threat risk, extrapolated his vices, and constructed his mental health and medical history.

I was to be proved utterly wrong on all counts.

Backpack man (as he is known locally) and I stood the sidewalk chatting for quite some time. He was outgoing, friendly and enthusiastic about discussing an unfolding web of topics. We took turns back and forth validating and disclosing our stories, sharing interests, and waypoints. Tentative at first. A little deeper each swing.

I won’t go into details, because I have no consent to do so. I will just say our songlines were uncomfortably similar. Lives separated in privilege by one small degree of luck and two degrees of circumstance but held parallel by a hundred yards of prejudice and misguided assumptions. Even so, for whatever reason, and completely because of making an effort on his part, those lines converged for a brief few minutes of uplifting mutual recognition.

Every moment is a lesson if you pay attention to it.

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2 responses to “Backpack man.”

  1. Amanda Walker Avatar

    One of my favourite things is listening to people’s story’s, we all have one. As a nurse I got more ‘ history’ from the patients than the doctors..sadly the hectic state of the health care system means ‘ history taking ‘ is rushed , along with valuable information….hense why I left..
    Working in a running shoe store I get the time( usually) to get a good customer history profile, ie shoe history, injury history and running history…sometimes as you can imagine I get a bit more…especially when they find out I was a nurse. 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the best Nurses I ever worked with taught me to stop and listen to Peoples Stories…..and I did and still do…you learn so much and they appreciate someone taking an interest in them….I bet that Man appreciated your chat too…..

    Liked by 2 people

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