That time I was mistaken for homeless

The other morning a man thought I was homeless. Well, he didn’t come out and say it like that, but that’s what he meant. I was going out to get in my car when I saw him walking up the middle of the street. Melting snow, ice and slush have made our sidewalks impassable lately, so I didn’t really think anything of it when I saw him in the street, which is mostly clear.

I was wearing a puffy blue coat over a t-shirt and jeggings and I carried an orange bag with a peace symbol embroidered on the side. It was warmer that day than it has been for a while so I was letting my hair dry on its own, but it hadn’t really gotten there.

He saw me and nodded in my direction. “What do they have good to eat?” he said.

I just looked at him, perplexed.  “At St. Johns,” he continued, referencing a church just up the street known for its soup kitchen and ministry to the city’s homeless. “Didn’t you go eat?”

“Ah, no,” I said.

“Oh, OK,” he said as I opened the door to my car and got in. He gave me a sheepish grin.

I probably wasn’t dressed my best, but I thought it was at least a step above homeless.

I guess I don’t mind being mistaken for homeless. I’m sure there are hipsters who are similarly misidentified, or who would like to be. It didn’t offend me; it made me laugh, actually.

It’s a little strange to me though, because there are different assumptions you could make about me by looking at my clothing. Every time I wear black and look down at all the cat hair I couldn’t get off my clothing, again, I know people must think I’m a crazy cat lady. I imagine that they imagine me at home by myself with my two cats, just knitting them cat sweaters and baking them tuna treats.

I try to get it all the cat hair off, I really do. The last thing I do before I leave home is to run a lint brush over my clothes. But with two cats, black clothing might as well be a fur magnet. I usually think I have all of it off, until I step out of my apartment and into the daylight and it’s just everywhere.

I’m not homeless but the crazy cat lady assumption wouldn’t be too far off.

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