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Success Story: The Great Outdoors

The morning sun nudges J to wake up. He stands next to the park bench, stretches and yawns. A short distance away is Broadway, a street that has experienced a rebirth in recent years, propelled in part by a renewed interest in country music and in holding onto traditions that have not been washed away in the deluge of the digital life. His outstretched arms take in the bit of Nashville skyline that he can see from his bench.

He pulls out a toothbrush and toothpaste from his sack and brushes his teeth. Then he takes some water from the bottle, swishes it in his mouth, and spits. He removes his t-shirt. J is a handsome man, broad shoulders, strong arms. From one of his bags he takes out a long string of toilet paper, wets it, then removes his shirt and wipes his underarms. He puts his shirt back on, packs up his belongings, unchains a small blue motorcycle that was chained to a metal pole that has a sign that says No Parking Any Time. He gets on the motorcycle and rides away.

J returns at night. He places two lumpy sacks in the corner of the bench, then ties two motorcycle helmets to the end of the bench. He wraps a chain around the motorcycle and the metal pole. J sits on the bench and leans on the sacks, his pillows for the evening. His outdoor bedroom is opposite a new hotel where tourists are arriving in late model cars and valets are carrying luggage. The noise wakes him for a moment. He looks up, stares at the tourists, and goes back to sleep.

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