Harmless Eccentrics in Society

Where I lived a few years ago was a nice area. In the suburbs but close enough to the city center. A regular suburb, different housing, different styles. Standard enough to be on the edge of boring but different enough to be individual. And like most other places there were individuals who stood out for whatever reason, but normally good. They were the harmless eccentrics in society that seem to make it that little bit better.

The old women that fed the pigeons. This annoyed a lot of people as the pigeons would hang around because they knew that the old women would feed them, but while they waited they would crap over everything below them.

There was the guy who fed the stray cats. They would congregate, waiting, knowing that they were onto a good thing. He wouldn’t just feed them. He looked after them and over a few years rescued some that would have died. A lot were trapped and de-sexed, either homed or released but without the ability to further the problem of an increasing cat population. Over time the colony dwindled down to a manageable dozen rather than the unmanageable few dozen of previously. Do these programs work? Some support them and some don’t. I think re-homing is the best policy when it can be done. Owners being responsible for their animals would be a good start as well.

But this is about eccentricities and my favorite was a guy who looked like he was a builder or laborer. He’d walk around the neighborhood on whatever mission he was on.

Nothing too eccentric there, but wearing a magnificent aluminum foil beanie and a bright, floral frock set him apart from everyone else.

Was he fighting demons? How had he come to this place in his life? I have no idea but whenever I saw him I would greet him and receive a friendly if gruff reply before he marched off. In winter he would wear a real woolen beanie, the aluminum one still underneath. He would still have the summer frock on and maybe a scarf but that and the scuffed, old work boots he always wore were the only things keeping the cold out. He didn’t care.

I know that some charities tried to ‘help’ him but he didn’t want that. I don’t know where he lived or what he did when he wasn’t doing whatever he was doing when I used to see him.

Some people need help, this guy didn’t, he lived his life as he wanted. Doing his own thing and minding his own business, I have a sneaking admiration for that. He did no one any harm and even the local kids seem to recognize something as they would not mock him but greet him, smile and wave and get the same friendly, gruff reply.

We need eccentrics in society, they are the color that can brighten a drab landscape and their confidence in themselves gives me confidence in myself.

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